Williams' Push Has Him In Middle At Mike

Josh Williams

Arkansas has some movement in the middle linebacking ranks as juco transfer Josh Williams (6-2, 240) earns a second-team spot and junior Otha Peters decides to transfer away from Fayetteville.

Just a few months ago, Josh Williams was planning on playing his sophomore season at Dodge City Kan., Community College and letting his recruiting just take care of itself with his play on the football field.

Williams (6-2, 240) has jumped into the back-up position at the Mike spot - middle linebacker - at Arkansas and that apparently prompted Otha Peters into deciding to transfer elsewhere.

“Otha Peters has decided to transfer,” Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema tweeted Monday afternoon. “We will assist with the process to find a new home. Wishing him the best!”

Peters soon followed with his own tweet saying there were no hard feeling.

“Nothing but love to the UofA from me but I must continue my playing career somewhere else! #WPS

So Williams, who had a team-leading 85 tackles last season for Dodge City, slots in behind starter Brooks Ellis with true freshmen Dwayne Eugene moving into the third-team spot.

“I think he can only play Mike,” Bielema said. “ Very thick, very instinctive player. Just a little thing, I grew up watching Mike Singletary. He was always pointing things out and one of the things he did when he saw a guard pull you could literally see his hand move because he knew what he was seeing. You can tell he's got good basic instincts.”

Williams could have spent another season at Dodge City, but Razorback assistant coach Sam Pittman – who handles the Jayhawk Conference recruit for Arkansas – saw that he was a full qualifier out of high school.

“Coach Pittman came by and told me that we really need you to come,” Williams said. “You can contribute to our team this year because linebacker depth is very, very low. I still had another year of juco left, but I evaluate it and Coach B evaluated me and offered me a scholarship so I took it.”

Arkansas linebackers coach Randy Shannon has known Williams since he was in high school.

“He is one of those kids who was 190 pounds out of high school and a year later with the weight program in junior college he’s about 230,” Shannon said. “He’s a great addition to us. He’s a smart young man, does lot of great things on the field that we saw in junior college.”

He got to Arkansas in July and was a little overwhelmed at first.

“I am very fortunate to be here right now, especially coming from the juco level at Dodge City - from nothing to something,” Williams said. “When I came here, I didn't know how to act because I wasn't use to this environment with millions and millions of dollars of facilities.

“The team is like brothers to me now,” Williams added. “When it comes to camp, it is hard, but the coaches are fair with me. Every thing is going good with me right now.”

Williams is a sophomore and joins three true freshmen – Randy Ramsey, Eugene and Khalia Hackett – in adding athleticism and speed to the linebacking ranks.

“We are very young, but we are all very fast,” Williams said. “We may not do everything right, but we are doing it 100 miles an hour.”

Williams and Ramsey both played at Fort Lauderdale Dillard in Florida.

“I think it is something in the water,” Williams said. “Everybody down there is just athletic and fast.”

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