UK Football: 'Spiderman" CoShik Williams just waited for his chance at running back
Kentucky junior running back CoShik Williams, left, says he began hugging his mother when he played ¿park ball¿ and that has not changed now that he¿s become the starter for the Wildcats. ¿I am always going to do that after games, good or bad,¿ he said. (Victoria Graff)
However, that gesture was nothing new for the Hiram, Ga., product.
“She is always here. I¿had to go give her a hug. I have been doing that since park ball after every game going up and hugging my mom,” said Williams. “I¿am her Spiderman and I¿am going to come hug her. She is very happy and really proud of me and the way the offensive line is blocking for me, and I am proud of them, too.”
His mother likes and expects the hug.
“He has always hugged me, win or lose. He has always done that and always ran the ball with pride,” his mother, Lawonna Williams, said. “It comes straight from the heart.”
Williams has had a long, patient journey from Hiram, Ga., to starting tailback for the Wildcats going into Saturday’s game at Vanderbilt. He’s averaged 107.7 yards per game rushing in the last three games for a suddenly revitalized UK¿offense.
Williams rushed for almost 1,000 yards his final high school season despite missing four games because of an injury after gaining 1,600 yards as a junior. He was offered a chance to become a walk-on at Kentucky on the recommendation of former high school teammate Trevard Lindley, an all-SEC cornerback at UK. He redshirted in 2008, played in four games in 2009 when he got only 14 carries and then played in 10 games in 2010, including his breakout game against Charleston Southern when he had 13 carries for 95 yards and three touchdowns.
“I¿am very proud of him,” his mother said. “I always knew if he got the opportunity, he would do it. He just kept praying. I told him to consistently pray and keep the faith as well as be patient and humble. He was raised like that in our church and has always been that way.”
He’s also always had that infectious personality that makes him so popular with teammates.
“Everybody in high school always liked CoShik. He just always had that personality people loved. He always smiled. If you are around him, you are going to smile,” his mother said. “He is a loveable person, even with his sister and brother and family members. Everybody just loves CoShik. You can’t get mad at him. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The UK¿junior started this season behind Raymond Sanders and Josh Clemons on the UK¿depth chart. Clemons is out for the year with a knee injury and Sanders has been hobbled by knee and ankle injuries that gave Williams his chance to shine.
“I¿knew one day it would come. I just had to stay humble and stay patient for my time to come,” Williams said. “I am not surprised I’ve been successful. I¿am just thankful the O-line (offensive line) has made such big holes for me. I¿feel good about everything I¿am doing from picking up blitzes to running and catching the ball. I feel good.”
That’s why there was no way he was going to miss last week’s game despite nursing a sore foot in practice.
“It would take a lot for me not to be out there trying to help my team. I would have to be in a wheelchair or on crutches not to go out there and play,” he said. “I had a foot problem and shoulder problem, but I came in early to get treatment (last week) and did extra things and it paid off. It will take a lot for me not to be out there helping my team.
“It’s nice to carry the ball 25 times like I did against Mississippi. It’s motivation. When you get the ball that many times, you get rolling and it makes you work harder. When my team needs big first downs, that is motivation for me.”
Williams’ parents always make the six-hour drive to games and were doing that before he recently got extensive playing time.
“I never worried when he came to Kentucky as a walk-on,” Lawonna Williams said. “I had confidence in him and knew what he was capable of doing. He always had confidence in himself, too. He was raised up to believe if you loved something, keep the confidence that you can do it.
“He loves football. He told me he was going to always play until he couldn’t any more. He’s been playing since he was 5 years old. His father bought him his first football uniform when he was about a year old. He had older brothers playing and that is what he wanted to do. He’s been playing all his life and loving it.
“I knew he would play last week. He won’t come out. I¿have never seen any kid that loves it more than him. I¿had three boys that were all die-hard football boys, but he wakes up, lays downs thinking and talking football.”
Williams pretended he was NFL star running back Jamaal Anderson when he was little and playing football. However, he also liked the Power Rangers, or at least one Power Ranger accessory — a pillow.
“His father got him that Power Ranger pillow when he was 3 or 4 years old. He’s still sleeping on it because he says he’s more comfortable sleeping when he has it,” Lawonna Williams said. “It surprised me when he took it to Kentucky. He said it was also his good luck pillow, but I¿told him the players might give him a hard time about sleeping on a Power Ranger pillow.”
If that is not enough, he carries a Spiderman backpack.
“I've been called Spiderman since I was born,” the Kentucky running back said.
“He would be turning flips on the walls in the house just like Spiderman,” his mother laughed and said. “I gave him that nickname. His whole bedroom is Spiderman. His comforter, pictures on his wall, his wallpaper. All Spiderman.”
A win this week would put UK¿in position to be bowl eligible again and set up an even bigger sort of homecoming game for Williams Nov. 19 when the Cats play at Georgia.
“It’s going to mean so much to see him play at Georgia,” his mother said. “He has been wanting that since he has been there (at UK). I will love seeing it. He grew up as a Georgia fan, but he never wanted to go to Georgia or anywhere in Georgia. He always wanted to get away. He’s loved it at Kentucky, and knew he had to be patient to get the opportunity he finally has got to show he can help the team.”
Williams says there’s no pressure on him, either, after his long wait to play.
“Finally getting my chance was a real blessing for me. I would like to thank God for giving me this opportunity to get my chance. I am a really thankful guy and just trying to take advantage of the opportunity I¿have now because not everybody gets this chance no matter how hard you work for it,” he said.