T.J. Williams (2002-05) was one of the best Tight Ends to every play football at NC State. In fact, you could easily make an argument that he was the best. In his career, he ranks 1st in NC State history for Tight Ends in receiving yards (1,916) and 2nd in receptions (98). He actually led NC State in receptions in 2004 & 2005, and even led the team in receiving yards in 2004. In 2005 Williams was named 2nd Team All-ACC. Williams played his first two years with another NC State legend Philip Rivers, and his final two seasons with Jay Davis. I mean no disrespect to Davis, but it makes you wonder how much greater those numbers could have even been with a different quarterback throwing him the ball for those final two years.
After his Senior season, Williams was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 6th round of the 2006 NFL draft, which was a dream come true, but that dream unfortunately proved to be a short dream.
“I was drafted by the Bucs coming out of college. Everything was going well. I was looking to get a lot of playing time in training camp,” said Williams. “I was performing well. Then the next thing you know, my achilles started acting up. I think I had to sit out 3-4 days of OTA’s at, and then on the last day of mini-camp, during the seventh segment of practice, I tore my achilles.”
The injury ultimately led to the end of his NFL career, which ended before it ever really began. Williams has tried to use that experience, and ultimately his experience as a football player to help shape the rest of his life.
“Ever since then life has been a roller coaster. Life is kind of like football,” said Williams. “You have a bad play, you dust yourself off and get up and play the next play. That’s still how I deal with life. You have to get up. And move on. And make things happen.”
Williams currently works up in Chicago in the mortgage banking industry.
“I currently work as a mortgage banker, and I love the banking industry, but it can be stressful at times, so I plan on getting back into something I’m more familiar with,” said Williams. “Something involving sports or football.”
He makes it back every year to at least one game at Carter-Finley, and the past three seasons he’s been able to make it back to two games. Williams says that playing in Carter-Finley was an experience he will never forget, and that his friends are jealous of.
“A lot of people don’t get to experience anything like playing at Carter-Finley. The excitement you feel when you come through that tunnel,” said Williams. “Coming through that smoke and seeing all those fans out there was amazing. I have some friends that are NC State fans and they always say that they would pay a lot of money to run out of that tunnel on game day.”