PROVO — Growing up in South Carolina doesn't exactly put someone in clear view of BYU and everything involved with its unique academic and athletic programs. But once Ty'Son Williams began his education of everything BYU had to offer, he determined it to be a perfect fit.
Williams, a 6-foot, 219-pound graduate transfer from South Carolina, provided insight Tuesday at to what led him to BYU from across the country for his final college season.
As one could imagine, BYU wasn't a place he ever dreamed he'd end up.
“I’ve heard of it, but yeah, I didn’t know where it was,” Williams said of BYU. “Even when I’d tell people I was going to BYU, it was like, ‘Where is it? Where is Utah?’ And I’d be like you got to go look at a map and figure it out. Things happen in life and I’m just glad to be here.”
BYU is glad as well.
Indeed the Cougars' running back situation has flipped dramatically with the addition of Williams and fellow graduate transfer Emmanuel Esukpa. Both are deemed talented running backs by Cougar coaches who should add considerably to the team's offensive backfield depth.
But that's not all.
“The fit talent-wise was big, but what was at least as big for us is how both of them fit in culturally,” BYU running backs coach AJ Steward said. “They’re guys who aren’t going to come in and mess up the culture we’ve established here. They’re both high-character young men and that’s a very important thing for us.”
Williams was able to see BYU up close with his family and ultimately grew to feel comfortable with everything the program had to offer.
“The people and then the academic side,” Williams said of what attracted him to BYU. “I just felt like I was getting everything all in one place.”
As talent goes, Williams comes in with a productive résumé beyond just running the football.
“I think Ty’son is an all-purpose back. I think he’s a guy who runs comfortably between the tackles and comfortably around the edge,” said BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes. “He’s a good receiver and blocker as well. He’s kind of that running back BYU has had for years that can do everything well.”
Williams agrees with Grimes' assessment, adding, "I don’t want to be limited, so every time I step onto the field I want to enhance the offense."
Williams is set to compete with BYU sophomore Lopini Katoa and others for reps, with the American Fork product excited for both graduate transfers' inclusion within the team's running back ranks.
“They fit right in and it feels like they’ve both been here for a while,” Katoa said. “I love having them both here and the best guy will win out, and that’s a great thing. We needed depth and I’m excited to compete against both of them and the best option will win out. It’s a good thing for all of us.”
From Steward's perspective, both grad transfers will ultimately benefit Katoa.20 comments on this story
“He likes having two guys older and more experienced than him to now learn from," Steward said. "It’s not something he’s had a lot of and I think it’s really going to help raise his game. I think we’ll definitely see Lopini have the best year he’s had as a result.”
Steward plans to have a completely open competition for reps from the outset of fall camp, which each player relishes.
“Just to come here and be myself, and compete, and then everything will take care of itself,” Williams said.