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Journey to the Arena Dream: DeShon Williams, WR/DE, Washington Wolfpack

Updated at Mar 30, 2024

DeShon Williams’ story is one that stands out, inspiring the future generation to continue chasing their dreams and believing in their abilities.

There are stories you hear about in football that catch your eye. DeShon Williams’ story is one that stands out, inspiring the future generation to continue chasing their dreams and believing in their abilities. Being a consummate professional, grinder and believing in himself has gotten DeShon where he is today, and his journey has been nothing short of inspirational.

Where it All Began

DeShon was a stand out prospect out of Washington and from day 1 in his recruitment process, it was clear that Wyoming was his goal. His father played there, and carrying on the family legacy seemed like the best option. His sophomore year, the Cowboys had given him an offer and his focus remained with them. Throughout his junior year, he never wavered in his desire to head to Wyoming, though West coast teams had expressed a want for his services. During his personal record setting senior season, Wyoming’s entire staff was fired and it became a whirlwind in regards to the recruitment process. Though he had interest from almost all D1 programs in the West, he had focused so much energy into Wyoming that he was still set on attending. Unfortunately, due to the shifts in staff, their interest fell, despite being a stand out recruit. In a bit of a bind, DeShon had to look for other routes, because he wanted to play from day 1 in college. His cousin had signed on signing day with Colorado State University - Pueblo, and helped put DeShon in touch with the coach. It was his best option and he signed with the ThunderWolves.

His first year, Williams was only 1 of 5 freshmen to play that season. CSU-P is a powerhouse DII program with multiple NFL players coming from there and the RMAC conference went on to win the National Championship.

“At the time it was a cool thing when it happened. I had enough awareness to understand how special it was. Looking back, it grew on me as time went on. It set a precedent for a winning standard for me and my teammates for whatever organization I go on to play for. It helped me grow right out of the gate.”

After his sophomore season, DeShon knew he wanted to make the leap to the next level. He had played with other D1 athletes and believed in his talents. The desire to play at the highest level continued to drive him. Being from the Seattle area, he wanted to return home and plate with his family.

“Big reason (transferring to University of Washington), was that my brother signed on NSD with UW and I knew I could play with those guys. I believed in my ability so I knew I could play there. The transfer process was tedious, it was different then, it was just before all the new transfer rules, so I knew I would have to sit out a year. Back at home, I wanted the big football experience where I could be close to family and what I knew.”

The Next Level

After his time at University of Washington finished, he had his pro day. From there, the Seahawks had decided to hold private workouts with him. Williams was still wanting to be a wide receiver in the league and wasn’t ready for a position change.

“I was still trying to brand myself at receiver, I wasn’t into the tight end thing at the time. Nothing really came from it (Seahawks workout), I didn’t have an agent so that was a little set back.”

With the desire to continue his football career, DeShon caught on with the Tri City Rush in the AWFC (American West Football Conference). It was local and gave him the chance to stay near the Seahawks in hopes they would need his service in the future. He played 6 games with the Rush which ended with a Championship. The idea to stay close worked out, and 2 days after the title, the Seahawks reached out to sign with the practice squad.

“The Seahawks called me, had a physical, and signed me to the practice squad. I was right into the thick of things as we were preparing for the Colts as soon as I joined. Ever since then, a whole year went by and my agent kept me really tapped in with the Seahawks. I didn’t end up signing the futures at the end of the year.”

DeShon knew he needed to keep pushing to get back to that level. In 2023, he signed with the Billings Outlaws and played 1 game before he tore his PCL. His recovery took 4 months, but he never gave up hope of fulfilling his football dreams and goals. After regaining his strength, he signed with the Kuopio Steelers, an American football team based in Finland. A former CSU-P teammate had got him connected with the Steelers and it allowed him to keep playing ball, which seemed like the best option at the time. After talking with his former agent and current agent, however, they had come to the conclusion that being in the states was better for his future in football. He signed with the Washington Wolfpack shortly after.

Experience and Role

DeShon has played at the top levels of DII, DI and NFL and was able to meet and work with many players. Through that, he has found some keys that helped him improve every step of the way.

“The biggest difference between all the levels that stuck out to me was the level of professionalism. The skill varies, but the biggest thing I noticed right away was how guys carried themselves. Russell Wilson I saw first hand was the ultimate professional. Say what you want about him from the outside, but I saw it first hand, inside the organization, he carries himself differently. It's something I want to emulate in myself, how I carry myself. Some places I went to, players were just happy to be there and that is okay.”

DeShon Williams is a large target, standing at 6 foot 3 inches and 230 pounds. However, when he was growing up there were not a lot of NFL level players at that size. Because of that, there were only a few guys he could model his game after. One player that stood out to him was Andre Johnson, former Houston Texans.

“Growing up I really watched Andre Johnson, I liked the way he played, a big physical receiver, it wasn’t as common. I wore 80 because of him. But now, since I moved to more of that receiving tight end role, more that H back type, I like to look at Aaron Hernandez. Strictly him as a player on the field - he was at a different level. Others include Antonio Gates and Evan Engram - the receiving H-back tight ends who can create mismatches."

Williams has a bigger frame and is versatile; the Wolfpack see him as a weapon on both sides of the ball. He started as a wide receiver, moved to tight end/H-back, and now will be playing some defensive end.

“I signed to play defensive end and receiver. At this point, receiver but we have tight end in our formations. I don't know how much on the defensive side I will play, but I’m signed to play on that side as well. It would be cool to get after the quarterback, I just want to help the team win. I believed in what Coach Wells and I were pitching to each other. This could be a good thing, this could be a great thing.”

Because DeShon has played at so many places and levels, he has built many connections with his new teammates already. Malik Braxton, Brandon Wellington, and Austin Joyner will be teaming up with Williams in Washington. Being from Washington there will be many local players DeShon grew up with and played against joining the team as well.

What the Future Holds

Being a new team, DeShon will be a building block for the growth of the Wolfpack. There will be a lot of unknowns to this season, but taking his previous experience into consideration, Williams is ready for what is next.

“Most excited about (this season) just being at the ground level of an organization, and building the culture for the new team. Being looked at as one of the major building blocks. Setting the precedents and standard for years to come. I want to be that leader in the locker room, as I saw before where new and younger players can lean into me. Being a part of something brand new, man that is exciting.”

DeShon’s approach on goals for the future follow in line with his approach as a professional. He wants what is best for the team and he knows he can be an asset. Awards are not something he is focused on and you can hear that when he speaks.

“Put the best product on the field. If I am the best I can be, the accolades will follow, I want to be a dominant force offensively or defensively. I just want to win, everyone wants to win the championship, I want to win every day, every rep, practice.. That builds to bigger and better. That foundation will lead to more and the rest will follow.”

Williams knows what it takes to make it to the top. There's never a day he goes without preparing himself. With a customized training play, DeShon is ready to take the field when his number is called.

“My workout typically has a lot of periodization and is year round. I work out like im signing with a team tomorrow. 4-6x a week, lifting and running, routes with quarterbacks through the week, there are a lot of local guys, so I always have someone to push me. I'm never falling out of shape.”

Personal Note

Deshon may not say it because there is a humble note to who he is but you can hear it in every sentence he speaks. His teammates know who they are playing with and never need to second guess his actions. As he spoke about learning from his levels of experience in the game of football, he walks the walk and talks the talk of professionalism.

“I want the fans to know I am going to let the play do the talking, I don't trash talk. I am going to find a way to do anything I can to get the goal I set out. Whatever I say I stand by it, on and off the field. I stand on it.”

Even when talking about all that he has done throughout his playing career, one moment stood out over the rest.

“My first varsity game in HS, it was a 3rd and long, this was my first career catch, cover 2 go ball, went up and caught it over a defender, I still have the picture of it. It will just be something I always remember, it really made me feel like I knew I could play and it set me up for the future mindset.”

DeShon Williams and the Wolfpack take the field April 27th vs the Oregon Blackbears. Fans can catch him live on NFL Network May 12th.

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