The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 31, 2009

HERTZEL COLUMN: Williams wrapping up career

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Go ahead, ask Reed Williams his favorite memory from a college career that comes to an end in a day when his West Virginia Mountaineers take on Florida State in the Gator Bowl.

Go ahead and ask him. We did.

“I can’t tell you,” he answered with an impish, college-kid smile. “I enjoyed it all. It was a great ride.”

When some people use that phrase they are referring to it being like a ride in a Mercedes-Benz. For Williams it was more like an amusement park ride, complete with ups and downs, twists and turns, moments of sheer fright and moments of glee.

And now the ride is coming to an end and he isn’t sure if he has any tickets left to ride it again.

The WVU middle linebacker tried to downplay all week that this was going to be his final collegiate game, maybe even his final game ever, but the closer it came, the more it began creeping into his mind. On Monday and Tuesday, there were things to do, people to see, places to go, but by Wednesday this had become a business trip.

“It’s the last hurrah, so to speak. I’m going to try to enjoy every minute of it,” he admitted.

It’s been that way pretty much for the last five years as Williams prepared himself for each game and each test, for football and for life after it.

“I think I did a pretty good job,” he said. “I have a couple of degrees.”

That’s like saying Einstein had “a couple of degrees.” It isn’t what’s on paper, but what’s in your mind and Williams always has a lot crowded into his cranium.

That was proven on a recent trip to New York, one where he traded in his No. 48 old gold and blue football uniform for a tuxedo, where he dined at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel as one of 16 finalists for the 2009 William V. Campbell Trophy awarded to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete.

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Bob Herzel
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