Every year, the NFL draft is filled with great stories. Almost always, those stories are about young men who have overcome tremendous obstacles to achieve their childhood dream.
The Los Angeles Chargers drafted one of those stories when they chose wide receiver Mike Williams with the No. 7 overall pick.
Williams didn’t have to overcome a debilitating disease or a rough childhood, but he did face a potentially career-ending injury.
It was a day in early September 2015. The highly-ranked Clemson Tigers hosted Wofford, a school they were expected to the thump. They did by a final score of 49-10, but that wasn’t the big story that day.
Williams caught a 4-yard touchdown pass early in the first quarter to put the Tigers up 7-0, but he was shoved in the back after the play. Williams ended up going head first into the goal post and crumpled to the ground. It was a scary scene.
Soon, Williams would be diagnosed with a fractured neck and would miss the rest of the 2015 season. He spent time wearing a neck brace while hoping he’d be able to resume his career.
Miraculously, Williams was able to make a full recovery and return to the field in 2016. He put together a season in which he was arguably the best wide receiver in college football. That year, he caught 98 passes for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns.
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That season culminated with Clemson winning the National Championship. Williams, who missed the previous year’s title game against the Crimson Tide, played well in a game filled with future pros.
Williams may be lucky to have this second chance, but you better believe that he is going to be ready to make the most of it. He knows the situation could have been much worse.
“He’s doing great. He’s walking around and has great movement and is going to class. We’re really fortunate it wasn’t worse. Anytime you have an injury in that area, you’re talking about a real serious thing”, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney told ESPN soon after the injury occurred.
With that scary, potentially life-altering moment now behind him, Williams can focus on the path he was destined to be on.