Hard work, dedication pay off for Utah's Karl Williams

Published: Thursday, May 23 2013 8:00 a.m. MDT

"He was having such a hard time and feeling down on himself," she said. "We'd always just tell him the hard work would pay off."

The payoff would soon come.

Williams started to see time on offense during the 2012 season after spending almost all his time on the scout team and special teams. He scored his first college touchdown against Arizona State — the same week his grandmother passed away. He finished the season with seven carries and nine catches. Coaches started to take notice of his hard work and dedication.

The three-year walk-on was fighting his way through another grueling 6 a.m. workout in February when Whittingham gathered the team together for an announcement that would change Williams' life.

"As soon as he started talking about somebody who's worked hard and been here committed to our team, who's started on special teams for the past three years, I knew it was me," he recalled about the moment he learned he had earned a scholarship. "I started crying because it's been such a tough road between those three years to get to this point in my life. Afterwards everyone was jumping on me and was giving me hugs. I know I have a family now and I know I'm a big part of this team."

He may be a bigger part of this team next fall then most ever expected. Williams was a star during spring football and put up big numbers. He rushed for 108 yards and three touchdowns in the Red-White Spring Game. He showed coaches he is more than just a fullback and is a viable option as an every-down back. He's put himself in the mix at running back and is listed with Lucky Radley and James Poole behind Kelvin York on the pre-fall depth chart. He left quite an impression on the coaches with his performance.

"If you're going to talk about a pleasant surprise, he might be the most pleasant surprise of the spring," said Utah co-offensive coordinator and running back coach Dennis Erickson.

Williams already has a great story to tell, but he believes this is just the beginning.

"My time is now," he said. "I wanted an opportunity to show people what I can do. I want the ultimate goal. I want to make it to the NFL. I want to provide for my family and I didn't feel I could do it if I was in the shadows and didn't get that opportunity. Now I've opened up a door and I'm stepping through it with arms open."

We'll see what surprises "The Truth" has in store this fall.

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