Austin Williams proves worth for MSU

Austin Williams

Staff Writer

Since high school, Austin Williams has done nothing but prove his worth.

When he got the football in his hands at Ocean Springs, Williams averaged 16 yards a catch and hauled in 28 touchdowns. He was one of the top performers at the U.S. Army All-American combine in San Antonio, Texas, when he clocked a 4.58 40-yard dash and a 38-inch vertical leap to go along with hit 6-3, 200-pound frame.

His performance at numerous Mississippi State camps showed a player that was too good to pass on in Dan Mullen’s eyes. So all of the three-star ratings aside, the Bulldogs had to take the player that never seemed to drop a football and always showed up ready to work.

That’s what new offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Luke Getsy has inherited and he’s been blown away by Williams’ willingness to learn and get better. He’s a player that Getsy said already has other wide receivers looking up to even in his youth.

“He’s done great," Getsy said. "He’s had a great summer. He’s a great kid who is smart and as hungry as anybody in that room. He wants to learn ball. He’s done a great job of asking questions, wanting more meeting time and wanting to watch (film). He’s a student of the game. You can’t have enough guys like that. He’s been a great role model on and off the field and we can win a lot of games with guys like that.”

It’s nothing new for Williams at MSU, either, as he was impressing in spring practices and fall practice last year as well. He was good enough that many sources around the program suggested he could have played for State’s depleted unit last year and been one of the most productive receivers.

Williams didn’t concern himself with those thoughts. Either he was playing or not and if he didn’t play, it meant he needed to get better. So that’s what he did without hesitation or complaints.

“I tried to put myself in the position (to play), but I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out,” Williams said. “Coming in early obviously did help. I felt like I was ready, but I may not have been. Coach (Mullen) has been around longer so he knows what to expect. It all worked out though.

“I think it was really helpful getting to learn from the older guys and how they approached the field. I just tried to apply that to myself for the next couple of years here.”

The Maroon and White Spring Game was Williams’ first chance to really show the fruits of his labor to Bulldog fans and coaches. He was the game’s top receiver catching four passes for 61 yards and a score. If he got his hand on the football, he was grabbing it.

That was a game he said he was glad to experience, but it mostly was used as a measuring stick of how far he’s come and just how far he has to go. He isn’t satisfied, so he puts his mind back to work in the film room and on and off the field.

“I’m just trying to learn and grow from what I did in the spring and take that next step,” Williams said. “Everything from how I’m approaching it like studying and things off the field, I’m just trying to apply it more.”

If he continues down that path, he’ll be as reliable a receiver as State has had in recent years. The same could be said for the whole Getsy crew of receivers as MSU looks to put an abysmal passing year behind it with new faces at the position and on the sidelines coaching them.

Williams is confident the Bulldogs will accomplish their goals of being effective in the passing offense, especially in the downfield game. He’s certainly seen a major uptick in the group over the last several months.

“I think we’re deep, talented and confident," Williams said. "I feel like we’re going to have a special group. It’s a different offense. I feel like we’re throwing the ball downfield a lot more and we’re running a lot more too so we can be explosive on both sides. I think we see the opportunity ahead of us and we’re embracing it and ready to roll.”