Josh Williams Reflects on Football Journey from Walk-On to Representing LSU for SEC Media Days

Stepping up in big moments and silencing the doubters has always been something that former LSU walk-on Josh Williams has been used to. Not a lot of people thought that Williams would ever have the opportunity to become a RB1 coming to Baton Rouge, but the Houston, Texas native was one of the biggest surprises of the 2022 season when he led all LSU running backs in rushing with 532 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

Despite being in a crowded and talented backfield with a lot of options, it is the 5’9, 205 pound’s versatility and reliability that has helped him be the leader of the bunch according to his coach Brian Kelly.

“I think what we were looking for from him more than anything else and in that position was reliability,
somebody that we could rely on on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down, whether it’s pass protection, whether it’s catching the ball coming out of the backfield, running the ball, making the tough yards. He was able to fill that and do an incredible job on all three downs. He also brought great leadership.
He’s a guy that is respected by so many.”

LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on RB Josh Williams

Williams has worked up the ladder from being on the scout team to having the opportunity to be a starter. It was last season when he earned the game ball in a win over Florida that everything came full circle for him.

“Honestly, the most surreal moment was after the Florida game going into the locker room and
Coach Kelly giving me the game ball after I had a 100-yard game. That was a big deal for me. It was the first time I ever actually noticed that I actually had some accomplishments for real, so yeah.”

LSU RB Josh Williams on most surreal moment of LSU career

Heading into the season, Williams is not worried about his yardage or touchdown numbers, but his only focus is how he can continue to be the same consistent player as he has been when he first arrived on campus.

“It’s ultimately up to Coach Kelly what my role will be. All I know is that I am going to stay
consistent each and every day and give it all I have.”

LSU RB Josh Williams on role heading into this season

Leading by example and working hard has helped him climb the ladder from being a walk-on to being a starter to now being a senior leader that represents LSU for SEC Media Days.

“It means everything in the world for me to be here in this spot that I’m in. Coming into LSU as a
walk-on and seeing the guys that participate in the SEC Media Days and what they meant for the team and what they meant to the coaching staff, just to be in the position I am now, it just feels amazing.”

LSU RB Josh Williams on journey from being a walk-on to representing LSU for SEC Media Days

Williams has been coached under both Ed Orgeron and Brian Kelly and throughout this journey, he is thankful to both coaches for giving him the opportunity and putting him in position that he is in right now.

“Well, you know, coming into LSU, Coach O ultimately gave me the opportunity to earn a scholarship here. Coach O is a lot more outspoken, a lot more loud, but he ultimately did give me the opportunity to come here as a walk-on and earn that scholarship, which he did give me. So I love Coach O forever for that. Coach Kelly, there’s a lot of similarities. They’re both great coaches, but Coach Kelly is a lot more — I feel like Coach Kelly gave me the opportunity to become more of a leader. He gave me the opportunity to actually start in a game. Not only that, but I feel like Coach Kelly has helped me
become more into my own as a man, as a confident person. They’re both great day-to-day. I wouldn’t ask for any other coaches.”

LSU RB Josh Williams on Ed Orgeron and Brian Kelly
LSU RB Josh Williams was one of the most surprising stories from 2022 as he led all Tigers running backs in rushing yards and touchdowns. (Photo taken by Billy Metcalf)

Being under Coach Orgeron, Williams knows what it takes to be a part of a championship team as he was on the 2019 National Championship team as a part of the scout team. Being a part of that team has taught him what it takes to be the player that he is today.

“I would say the main thing that helped me was seeing the consistency that they put in each and
every day. You know, when you see guys like Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase and Clyde Edwards-Helaire come in each and every day, going the extra mile, doing the extra small detailed things, that’s what showed me what works, the consistency.”

LSU RB Josh Williams on 2019 National Championship Team

Even though there are different personalities, the success that was shown in 2022 could lead to big things in 2023 just like when LSU had a good season in 2018 before taking the next step and winning a national championship in 2019.

“I believe the guys in our locker room, we’re very tight-knit, and we don’t take losing lightly. We’re
very competitive. Even in practice. It could be a bag toss. Everybody on the team is very competitive. When we’re in a close, tight game and you have your head coach, Coach Kelly, pouring his heart out to you telling you to give it your all, we just go out there and give it our all, and we just throw our hearts against the line for the win.”

LSU RB Josh Williams on team’s mindset

Heading into the season, Josh Williams is a leading candidate to wear the number 18 jersey and his consistency on and off the field is one of the catalysts in helping the Tigers’ quick turnaround.

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