Donnie Lewis Jersey

The Browns on Saturday selected Tulane CB Donnie Lewis with the No. 221 pick in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Lewis is the Browns’ seventh and final selection in the draft, following LSU CB Greedy Williams (No. 46), BYU LB Sione Takitaki (No. 80), Miami S Sheldrick Redwine (No. 119), Alabama LB Mack Wilson (No. 155), Oklahoma K Austin Seibert (No. 170) and Southeast Missouri State G Drew Forbes (No. 189).

Lewis was a three-year starter for the Green Wave, recording three interceptions apiece in his junior and senior seasons. He had eight for his career at Tulane, where he enrolled in 2014 and redshirted his first year.

Tulane cornerback Donnie Lewis Jr. visited the Texans on Thursday, according to a league source not authorized to speak publicly.

Lewis (6-foot, 195 pounds) also has visits with the Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins.

Lewis suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot during an East-West Shrine All-Star Game practice.

Lewis intercepted three passes last season, returning one for a touchdown and recorded 56 tackles. He lined up at cornerback, safety and nickel.

For his career, Lewis had 160 tackles, seven interceptions, 37 passes defended, two fumble recoveries and a half-sack.

The Cleveland Browns recently held a pre-draft visit with Tulane cornerback Donnie Lewis Jr.

While the Browns continue to cling to the antiquated notion of not confirming these visits, Lewis Jr. took care of the announcement by posting videos on his Instagram account of the club’s field house and locker room, according to Nate Ulrich at The Beacon Journal.

A four-year starter for the Green Wave, Lewis finished his collegiate career with 160 tackles, seven interceptions, 37 passes defended, two fumble recoveries and a half-sack for the Green Wave, according to Eagles Wire.

A second-team All-American Athletic Conference selection in 2018, Lewis was versatile enough his senior year to play cornerback, nickelback and safety – all positions that the Browns could use some help with after trading starting safety Jabrill Peppers and allowing nickelback Briean Boddy-Calhoun leave in free agency.

Lost in space earlier in his career, Tulane senior cornerback Donnie Lewis has become the ruler of his own galaxy.

He was at least out of this world for most of the Green Wave’s game against SMU on Saturday. He made back-to-back tackles behind the line of scrimmage in the first half and returned an interception for a touchdown in the third quarter, exhibiting the supreme confidence he has gained in his fourth year as a starter.

Athletic Conference honor roll, recognition even though Tulane lost 27-23.

“It felt great,” he said of his first career interception return for a touchdown. “All of the hard work that I put in during the offseason finally paid off.”

Lewis, a Central High graduate, read the sideline pass perfectly on his interception, beating receiver James Proche to the spot and picking it off in stride, racing 49 yards to the end zone as Tulane went ahead 16-7. Proche lined up on the right, went in motion to the left and Lewis followed him across the formation.

“It was real good play-calling by our coaches,” said Lewis, whose team plays at Tulsa at 6 p.m. Saturday. “We’d been working on that motion look all week, saying, ‘This is what we do when we see it.’ So boom, I just saw it and trusted it with my eyes to make a play.”

Lewis has not always been that alert. Targeted often opposite two-time All-AAC cornerback Parry Nickerson in the past, he frequently failed to make a play on deep balls, even when he was blanketing a receiver. While Nickerson, now a member of the New York Jets, snagged 10 interceptions in the past two years, Lewis had half that total.

This year he already has three interceptions and is on pace for five or six even though opponents are shying away from him and attacking Tulane’s less experienced cornerbacks on the other side of the field.

“He’s really improved,” coach Willie Fritz said. “I really think he’s playing at an all-conference level. It’s great to see a guy develop like that. He’s certainly a much better player now, and that’s what should happen. He’s a hard-working guy. He really enjoys practice, and that’s why he’s gotten better.”

Lewis possessed the raw skills to excel from the beginning, starting nine times as a redshirt freshman in 2015, 10 times in 2016 and in every game last year, when he led the Wave with 13 pass breakups. Taking advantage of his experience and intelligence — Lewis already has a bachelor’s degree in public relations —defensive coordinator Jack Curtis uses him at a variety of spots.

His score against SMU came when he lined up off the ball as a nickelback rather than on the line in press coverage.

“He’s just a good, smart player,” Fritz said. “He understands the game. He really had a great grasp of what we’re doing and what the opponent is doing.”

Free safety Roderic Teamer, a fellow senior and longtime starter, has been predicting Lewis’ breakout for years and loves seeing it come to fruition.

“Donnie’s a really exciting player,” he said. “He’s always been athletic and long (6-0, 195 pounds), but the biggest difference this year is him understanding defenses. That’s going to carry him further in his career. I tell him all the time he’s a cornerback with a safety’s mind.”

That means providing run support, too. Lewis, whose 32 tackles lead all Tulane defensive backs, nearly single-handedly stuffed one SMU possession in the first half. He blitzed off his man to drop running back Braeden West for a 2-yard loss on first down and diagnosed a wide receiver screen to nail Proche for another 2-yard loss on second down.

It was part of a stretch when SMU lost 14 yards in nine downs while punting three times, making the Mustangs’ comeback from a nine-point deficit doubly frustrating. Tulane’s defense dominated them for long stretches, but the Wave (2-5, 1-2 AAC) could not finish, losing a game it really needed to win.

Tulane has lost two in a row since upsetting Memphis 40-24 in a game that was not even as close as the score indicated.

“It’s real tough, but as a team leader I’m trying to keep the guys together and tell them to put this behind us and learn from it,” Lewis said. “We just have to play with confidence and swagger. We know what we’re capable of, as you saw when we played Memphis. We have it in us. We just have to find a way to come out and play like that every week.”

Lewis was not perfect against SMU. He gave up a 16-yard touchdown on the possession after his interception return, when Reggie Roberson eluded his press coverage with a quick move and caught a pass from quarterback Ben Hicks before Teamer could get over to break it up.

That is life as a cornerback, though. Fritz said Lewis, like all good cover guys, bounces back from bad plays right away rather than dwelling on them.

His task is getting everyone else to recover just as quickly as he does. Already desperate, Tulane faces a must-win at Tulsa (1-6, 0-3) if it wants a bowl game to be anything but a pipe dream.

Lewis will get everyone pumped up before the game with his natural enthusiasm despite the Wave’s precarious position.

“It’s my job to keep the guys positive in the locker room,” he said. “It’s easy to point fingers and blame, but … we have to look ourselves in the mirror. I have amnesia personally being a cornerback, so I just try to take my game and help out with the team.”

Drew Forbes Jersey

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Drew Forbes was recognized this week for his role in helping the Southeast Missouri State football program reach a new pinnacle.

The dominant and durable left tackle and graduate of North County High School was selected to the Football Championship

Subdivision Second Team offense by the Associated Press.

Forbes made 35 consecutive starts for the Redhawks to cap a collegiate career that included First Team honors from the Ohio Valley Conference a few weeks ago.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds, he is projected by numerous publications as a future NFL draft pick next spring, potentially having his name called in the fourth or fifth round.

Forbes blocked for running back and fellow SEMO all-American Marquis Terry, who led the OVC with 1,229 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns this year.

The Redhawks earned an at-large berth into the NCAA FCS playoffs, and notched their first postseason victory in team history at home by rallying past Stony Brook 28-14.

Southeast then traveled to Ogden, Utah, for a challenge against second-ranked Weber State, but fell 48-23 to finish the season 9-4 overall and 6-2 in league play.

No sir, this homegrown Missouri talent prefers to just brawl. Head down, lunch pail in hand, no frills … the kind of lineman the old-school linemen love and respect. This weekend, Forbes could very likely be only the second SEMO player taken in the draft since 2004, following in the footsteps of his 2017 teammate Kendall Donnerson, who was taken on day three last year. DraftScout.com sees Forbes as a 4th to 6th round type prospect, so Saturday would be the day to focus in on, but his draft stock has been rising for weeks.

“I thought I’d get a combine invite and some sort of postseason bowl game invite, but that never came,” Forbes told HERO Sports this week. “It was disappointing to me but I kept working. I knew I wanted to do two Pro Days (SEMO’s and Missouri Western’s) … I didn’t know I’d fly up so quickly after that.”

Forbes, who had gone media silent for several weeks at the request of his agent, told HERO Sports this week that he has been on seven visits to meet with NFL teams. He said he could go public with six of them — the Vikings, 49ers, Falcons, Packers, Browns and Jets. He also said he has had workouts with the Lions, Falcons and Cardinals.

So … to say he’s been “flying up the charts” may be a bit of an understatement.

Forbes is hardly an unknown quantity at the FCS level, a HERO Sports All-American. He was a cornerstone in upstart SEMO’s playoff effort last fall, helping pave the way for talented RB Marquis Terry and the Redhawks’ offensive attack. But outside of the FCS ranks, he wasn’t well known. The guard prospect had to earn that, and earn it he has.

Forbes modeled his game after former SEMO standout Dan Connolly, another lunch-pail type interior lineman who was an all-conference performer at SEMO before moving on to play mostly with the New England Patriots in the NFL. He was undrafted, but he holds a Super Bowl ring instead of a thin piece of paper proclaiming his draft status.

The meat market stuff went well for Forbes. His top Pro Day numbers included a 40-yard dash time that would have been top five for offensive linemen at the NFL Combine, as well as Top 10 range marks in the bench press, vertical jump and the 3-cone technique. Bottom line? He belonged in Indy for the Combine, and had to wait a month to prove it at two quaint Pro Days … but that’s exactly what he did, without all the cameras and hype around.

Maybe it’s maturity that has helped Forbes get to this point. He’s married, which keeps him grounded. He’s at the least heralded position in football as an interior lineman, yet it’s a spot where a good one can last 15 years in the league while flashier running backs last five. Oh, and there’s that FCS thing … where even though it’s Division I football, often the players are virtually ignored, nationally.

It’s been a whirlwind experience. Just the team visits alone have been eye-opening.

“I’ve had some interesting moments, like when I saw Richard Sherman’s locker (at San Francisco) and I thought, ‘You’re not supposed to be here,'” Forbes said. “And seeing Baker Mayfield’s locker in Cleveland. When I went on my first visit, I was nervous, but when I was done I couldn’t wait for the next one. Each time I’ve gotten better at it.”

There’s nothing like being recruited … by NFL teams. Especially when you weren’t exactly recruited out of high school by all of the big colleges. Forbes is the poster boy in that department.

Southeast’s 2018 football campaign broke new ground and brought the university countless awards, but there may still be more to come for a handful of seniors that participated in a pro day at Houck Field on March 26.

Among five Redhawks participating in the pro day was offensive lineman Drew Forbes, a three-year starter who has been on the radar of National Football League scouts since the summer. Forbes, who participated in a pro day at Missouri Western just a week before, improved across the board, most notably knocking his 40-yard dash time from a 4.98 to a 4.90.

The fastest time among offensive linemen at the NFL combine a month ago was 4.89.

“I think I did well,” Forbes said. “I think I can always do better, I have some pretty high expectations of myself. I really enjoyed it, getting to come out here with some of the other seniors from this year who had a successful year.”

Those other seniors included fellow All-American running back and Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year Marquis Terry, defensive lineman Reggie Miles and linebackers Demarcus Rogers and Marcus Goree. The group also included Missouri S&T linebacker Landon Compton.

The test of athleticism began indoors at 9 a.m., where all players conducted the bench press and vertical leap. Afterward, the group moved outdoors to do the broad jump, 40-yard dash, shuttle and other drills, including positional work.

Heading into the pro day, both Terry and Forbes knew what to expect.

“Basically everything is going to be laid out there,” Forbes said. “Your physicality, how well you perform in space and motion, your feet. I know what I’m capable of, and I need to go do it under control but at a high pace and with intensity.”

Forbes earned a plethora of honors following his senior campaign, including several All-American honors as well as being named Phil Steele’s Football Championship Subdivision Offensive Lineman of the Year. His efforts the entire season helped pave the way for Terry, who ran for 1,229 yards, including an OVC-record 311 against Southern Illinois University on Sept. 15. Terry finished with 1,625 all-purpose yards. Due to lingering ankle and knee injuries, Terry was limited to just the opening series in the Redhawks’ loss to Weber State in the second round of the FCS playoffs.

“It was a great experience,” Terry said. “I kind of treat it like any other day, just come out here and perform. Everything I feel like I can improve on. Just being consistent and more repetition, I feel like I can get better at.”

Terry and Forbes both noted they had spoken with a few of the scouts before, and did so after the pro day as well. Forbes said he already had several interviews with NFL representatives and expected more going forward.

The senior Redhawks — as well as Compton — are trying to follow the footsteps of former Southeast players Kendall Donnerson and Mike Ford. The former was drafted in the seventh round by the Green Bay Packers last year and the latter signed as an undrafted free agent with the Detroit Lions, where he played in seven games and recorded 24 tackles.

Among the eight NFL teams at the pro day were the Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints.

Rogers started for Southeast and finished the season with 81 tackles, good for fifth on the team. Miles and Goree were spot starters for the Redhawks.

In less than a month, the players will find out how much they impressed the scouts.

Lyndell Wilson Jersey

Alabama 5-star freshman linebacker Lyndell Wilson might have to prepare for college football while on the path to recovery.

Continue for updates.
Wilson Plagued by Shoulder Problem
Wednesday, March 23

On Wednesday night, Wilson announced via Twitter that he tore his labrum and will undergo surgery next week.

He also disclosed that he’s had this injury for quite some time:

A timetable for a possible return has not been disclosed as of yet.

Wilson signed with the Crimson Tide on Feb. 3 as one of the best defensive recruits of the class of 2016. According to 247Sports’ composite rankings, Wilson was the No. 2-ranked outside linebacker in the nation, the No. 2 overall prospect in the state of Alabama and the No. 15 overall prospect in the nation.

He was one of three 5-star recruits who were nabbed by the school in a recruiting class that was ranked first in the nation.

The 6’2″, 220-pound outside linebacker has exhibited above-average speed and strength, which will make him a nightmare for opposing offenses in the SEC.

According to sports surgeon Howard J. Luks, recovery from labrum surgery normally takes a minimum of eight to 12 weeks. If Wilson were to make it back within that timeline, he’d be good to go by May or June.

Freshmen rarely participate in spring practices anyway, so Wilson could very well get a clean bill of health before he graduates high school, which would give him plenty of time to get ready for the 2016 college football season.

TUSCALOOSA — Ten hours.

That’s how long Lyndell “Mack” Wilson laid on his stomach to have a tattoo artist complete a project that is healing his soul and motivating him to achieve greatness.

Wilson’s close friend Rod Scott and cousin Shaquille Johnson died within a year of each other. Scott, 17, passed away from injuries suffered in a car wreck March 4, 2016.

Johnson, 20, was shot and killed in Montgomery on Feb. 4, 2017.

The childhood friends meant everything to Wilson. They’re gone, but their spirits live within him through a tattoo tribute at the bottom of his back, one that took artist Michael Jordan 10 hours over three days in July to complete.

“He almost wanted to cry,” Jordan said. “He just smiled.”

Wilson is portrayed in his No. 30 University of Alabama uniform, arms raised to the sky, with Scott and Johnson above him in their respective Robert E. Lee High basketball and football uniforms.

“Those guys played a tremendous role in my life,” Wilson said. “Growing up with them. Learning from them. Working hard with them and stuff like that. That kind of motivates me every day to go out and compete and to go out and play hard because I know if they were here, they’d be doing the same thing.”

At the bottom of the tattoo, “My Brother’s Keeper,” is written in script.

“It means a lot to me,” said Johnson’s mom, Lashunda Powell. “It had to mean a lot to him for him to go through that pain to do it.”

Seeing her son and Scott as Wilson’s guardian angels, she explains how Wilson views them in his voice.

Carver-Montgomery coach Billy Gresham knew the scouting report on Lyndell Wilson as a middle school football player.

Big. Fast. Talented. But behaviorally? Wilson had a reputation as a problem child.

“His maturity level didn’t match his size,” Gresham said. “He was bigger than a lot of kids at the middle school and he had a lot of issues personally with himself.”

It didn’t take long for Wilson’s maturity level to catch up, thanks to his recognition of his abilities and some key mentors along the way. Wilson, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker and five-star recruit, is No. 3 on this year’s AL.com preseason A-List, the ranking of the state’s best senior prospects.

Call him ‘Mack’

Wilson has been called “Mack” by his teachers and friends all his life. He said he’s not sure how he obtained the nickname, but his mother certainly does.

Wilson’s uncle started calling him that as a baby. Lyndell was a “chunky” baby, Sandra Wilson said.

“His uncle Ricky’s daughter named him ‘Fat Mack,'” Sandra Wilson said. “He loved to eat. As he grew up, Mack just took the fat off and became known as Mack.”

But growing up wasn’t easy. Sandra Wilson said she and her husband, Lyndell’s father, divorced when he was a toddler.

Lyndell characterized his relationship with his father as “inconsistent” and said his father has been in and out of legal trouble.

Lyndell took responsibility for getting into trouble as a youngster, largely because he had no father figure.

“It was rough because I grew up in the ghetto part of the city,” Wilson said. “Growing up, I made a lot of bad decisions and I learned from that.”

Said Sandra, “He wasn’t at the age to understand what was going on. It was hard. I know divorces put a strain on the kid and make him act up in class and outbursts to get attention.

“I started talking to him and he started to realize what he had to do to make a better person of himself.”

Meeting Todd Dowell helped turn that in the right direction.

Finding direction

Dowell runs a foundation called “Make A Difference,” mentoring youths in Montgomery who may have had their struggles. Dowell works for the city of Montgomery’s parks and recreation department and a younger Lyndell would come to the park where he worked “mostly, just to talk.”

The two struck up a bond and now Dowell is Lyndell’s godfather.

“I didn’t have my father in my life, so he sat down and talked to my mom and stepped in my life and was being that father figure for me, leading me to the right way,” Lyndell Wilson said.

“He taught me how to be a better football player. He taught me how to think,” Lyndell added. “He taught me how to be a man. He takes a lot of pressure off me when it comes to recruiting.”

“Mr. Todd, thank God for him,” Sandra Wilson said. “He was a blessing.”

Dowell soon learned that there was a lot more to Lyndell than a troubled youth.

“He’s a care-free kid who loves fashion, photography and graphics,” Dowell said. “He just needed more of that 1-on-1 guidance. He’s grown to the point where he understands his role, understands who he is and what is expected of him and what he can do and what he can’t do.”

Austin Seibert Jersey

With one of their fifth-round picks, the Cleveland Browns selected Austin Seibert, a kicker out of Oklahoma. Despite fan backlash on the Browns taking a kicker so early, Cleveland was right with their selection at No. 170.

The Cleveland Browns had a somewhat confusing 2019 NFL Draft. While they were able to grab some serious value at No. 46 overall with LSU cornerback Greedy Williams, the Browns made some odd decisions throughout the rest of the draft. But perhaps no decision was more of a fanbase head-scratcher than taking Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert in the fifth round.

It was widely thought throughout the draft that the Browns would address depth on the defensive line. The No. 170 overall pick was seemingly a lock for the Browns to take a lineman to improve on their solid core on the front four.
Perhaps Northern Illinois’ Sutton Smith or Temple’s Michael Dogbe? Instead, the Browns went with Austin Seibert, and despite the odd selection, Seibert should be Cleveland’s ice-cold kicker for years to come.

NORMAN — Kicker and punter have been a solidified position at Oklahoma for the last four years. From the time Austin Seibert arrived on campus, he handled both roles and set an NCAA scoring record for kickers in the process. But now, Seibert is gone and the Sooners have plenty to replace on special teams. The Sooners begin spring practice…

Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert kicked plenty of extra points after touchdown drives engineered by Baker Mayfield.

Now, he’ll have a chance to do the same in the NFL.

Seibert was the No. 170 overall pick in the fifth round Saturday by the Cleveland Browns.

Seibert served as both the Sooners kicker and punter during all four of his years in Oklahoma.

He became the NCAA career-leader in points for an FBS kicker with 499, also setting both Big 12 and school records for scoring by any player.

The Illinois native made 79.7 percent of his kicks during his career, with a long of 51. He made 310 of 315 extra points, including a school-record 162 consecutive.

He also averaged 41.7 yards per punt, but chose to focus on placekicking in the lead-up to the draft.

Seibert is the fourth Sooners kicker to be drafted and the first since Uwe von Schamann was taken in the seventh round in 1979.

With the No. 170 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns have selected former Oklahoma Sooners kicker and punter Austin Seibert.

I’m certain that hearing another Oklahoma Sooner will be heading to Cleveland is comforting and welcome to Brown fans after Seibert’s selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. It’s pretty clear what direction the Cleveland Browns are heading in when one looks at their activity in the draft— they have not selected any skill position players on offense, rather they have spent those picks on defense. They have seemingly created a clear narrative that they are set on offense, trying to bolster their defense, and lastly with the selection of Austin Seibert, they are trying to improve and diversify their Special Teams. It’s no question that people tuning in to see the Baker Mayfield show should expect to see Seibert on kickoffs with his cannon of a leg. However, it remains to be seen how special he can be if he can specialize in one area of his kicking duties.

Austin’s tenure in Norman will solely be missed by the Sooners. Prior to Seibert’s arrival on campus, Oklahoma had been recruiting kickers such as Michael Hunnicutt, Jimmy Stevens, and Garrett Hartley— one of which had an NFL career. Seibert came to the program as one of the most highly recruited specialists in quite some time and he was much better than all other specialists in Norman, so Austin took care of all kicking duties. He will leave Oklahoma as the leading scorer in Oklahoma history as well as the Big XII with 499 points.

According to NFL Scouts, one of Austin’s strengths is his versatility, as he handled all kicking duties during his tenure with the Oklahoma Sooners. However, the biggest upside for Seibert is his perceived strong leg and experience in “meaningful and stress-filled contests.” One of his “weaknesses” can be blamed on quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, as he never really had the opportunity to kick field goals over fifty yards (and when he did, he was 1-3).

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida — Mark Seibert won’t watch his son’s field goals. Sometimes he peeks, but mostly he just waits for the crowd reaction to know if the kick is good or bad.

Saturday, he admits this fact: “I’ll be nervous,” Mark said. “On the pressure kicks, I definitely shut my eyes.”

Oklahoma’s Austin Seibert needs six points to become the FBS’ all-time leading scorer among kickers, a feat he could accomplish when the No. 4-ranked Sooners face No. 1 Alabama in Saturday’s Orange Bowl.

He’s already OU and the Big 12’s all-time leading scorer, despite the workload of performing field goals, kickoffs and punts the past three seasons.

But records and accolades didn’t start all this.

It began in Seibert’s hometown of Belleville, Illinois, where Mark was born and raised and lives today, working for St. Clair County. It’s not a bad place, Seibert insists, but the pastures could be greener.

Mark helped plant that seed into his son’s mind.

“Where I’m from and our financial status, the only way that I was gonna bet out of Belleville was if I got a scholarship,” Seibert said. “That was my dad’s whole — he wanted me to get a good education. So he’s right there with me and right there with my brother. And the goal is to get my brother a free education and good education and get him out of Belleville.”

Seibert’s brother, Logan, recently finished his sophomore season at Belleville West High School. He’s the 2021 class’ sixth-ranked kicker nationally, according to Kohl’s Football Kicking and Punting Camps, which help groom high school kickers. Logan attends those camps, just like Seibert did while ascending as a recruit; the instruction isn’t free and it sometimes requires travel.

But serious choices require serious commitments, and the summer going into his freshman year, Seibert opted to focus on football and quit fall soccer, a sport his family first pushed because of his skill and strength using both feet.

The gridiron seemed to be his future.

Ever since he played for the Little Devils in little league football, Seibert has performed all three kicking duties. He kicked his first extra point at age 9, Mark said, and Seibert didn’t just enjoy using his feet.

As a youth he played quarterback, running back and some linebacker. He was Belleville West’s backup QB as a junior, and as a senior, he challenged the freshman team by playing tight end in practice. At a shade under 5 foot 9, they called him “Gronk.”

Football seemed right for him. Tackling is no kicker’s forte, but Seibert doesn’t mind it if he’s the Sooners’ last line of defense on punt or kick returns.

“I’m not going to run [anyone] down in the open field,” Seibert said. “But if someone’s running heads-up at me, I’m not afraid to get hit. If my lights go out, they go out.”

Seibert has a blunt way of putting things, and he doesn’t pull any punches when talking about what it means to kick as often as he does in college. It’s not easy and it’s not for everyone. OU will split up the duties next season after Seibert moves on.

“Work ethic, if I’m being honest,” Seibert said, asked why most kickers don’t do it. “I think that’s a mindset thing honestly. A lot of guys will just try and — ‘Oh my gosh, what did I do wrong?’ I just go out there and kick. I go out there and punt. I think it’s a mindset thing.”

His blue-collar attitude reflects onto his brother, Logan. Belleville West is graduating its punter, and he says he’ll perform all three kicking duties for the Maroons.

Somewhere down the line, maybe he’ll break records too. But that was never Mark Seibert’s initial dream for his boys.

“It has motivated me,” Logan said of his brother’s career. “It motivates me to think about going that far, about getting to that level.”

Andraez Williams Jersey

If you were ever under the impression that LSU stopped being DBU at some point, I have some bad news for you.

Not only has LSU been DBU for over a decade, it looks they will continue to dominate in 2018 after the breakout freshman seasons of both safety Grant Delpit and lockdown cornerback Andraez Williams.

It will not be easy to throw the ball against Tigers in 2018 with those two sharks swimming in the deep water.

Williams, affectionately known as “Greedy,” has a chance to prove himself as one of the top cornerbacks in the country in 2018—and potentially vault into the Top 10 of the 2019 NFL Draft.

He’s the next man up in a long line of elite pro cornerback prospects at LSU.

Whether he’s in press man-to-man or off-coverage, he can adapt his play style to suit all of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s needs.

After a remarkable 2017 season in which he finished with six interceptions and 10 pass breakups, Greedy made the All-SEC team.

His advanced stats paint an even better picture via Pro Football Focus: Of the 236 cornerbacks who played at least 50 percent of their team’s snaps last season, Greedy finished first in passer rating allowed. He only allowed 25 catches on 64 targets.

When you watch the film, you see a supremely confident cornerback.

He has no problems pressing up against receivers who are bigger than him and whether the ball is thrown to his guy or not, you rarely see him out of position. His interception against Texas A&M shows the great technique he plays with plus his ability to read plays.

He starts by mirroring the release of the receiver. Previously, Texas A&M tried to run go routes on Williams, but he stays patient and then when the receiver breaks back inside for the slant he uses his inside arm to stop the receivers momentum and look for the ball.

Then he just runs the slant route instead of the receiver. A great play.

It wasn’t often, but when Williams was in off-coverage (usually after the offense motioned a receiver to his side) he was just as good. He picked off Chattanooga after jumping a quick out route and here against Syracuse, on the opening play of the game, he steps in front of a quick sit route and takes it to the house.

With Aranda pressing his corners quite a bit, offenses tried to throw over the top of Williams on fade and go routes. The whole SEC tried and failed. The way he’s able to stay with the receiver, turn his head, locate the ball and get his hands on it is excellent.

Against BYU, Tanner Mangum tried to hit the fade route against Greedy. You can see Williams stay stride for stride for the receiver which affords the cornerback the ability to get his head around and locate the ball.

He loses the receiver for a moment while doing so, which is normal, but manages to reestablish position and squeeze the receiver into the boundary before going up and getting the ball.

There was really nothing that Greedy couldn’t do last season. The way he played on tape backed up his gaudy statistics.

You’d imagine teams will shy away from throwing at him in 2018. One of the questions will be if Dave Aranda moves him around to match-up against the opponent’s best receiver. He played predominantly on the left side of the defense last year. Without Kevin Toliver, a veteran, platooning the opposite cornerback spot this may be what LSU decides to do.

LSU fans need to cherish Greedy while he’s in Baton Rouge. Even at a program that seems to turn out first round defensive backs on a regular basis, No. 29 is special.

Andraez “Greedy” Williams has carried on the legacy of LSU breeding defensive backs. He’s the next in line of a long list of successful prospects to don the purple and gold. Many ask if his real name is actually Greedy. It is not. The nickname was given to him by his aunt. When he was a child, she gave it to him because when she babysat him she used to prepare bunches of milk for him, but he would always drink more than she had prepared. Thus, the nickname Greedy was given to him. Williams now loves the name because it goes perfectly with the position that he plays on the field.
Already given one of the best names in college football, his road to being the big man on campus was far from given though. LSU is known as a five-star hotbed for Louisiana prospects. Williams was not that coming out of Calvary Academy in Shreveport. At the time, he was a slender 6-foot-1, 155 pound three-star recruit, not the headliner amongst the 2016 signing class.

Upside was the word that kept being associated with him after signing his national letter of intent. That’s exactly what the Tigers coaching staff had in mind upon Williams’ arrival to Baton Rouge. He redshirted during his first year. Williams was clearly disappointed because he wanted to be like most recruits and make an instant impact early on.

Entering the 2017 season, the now redshirt-freshman was battling for playing time. He was finally beginning to show that upside that he was tagged with following signing day. Williams ended up starting all 13 games. He finished tied for the SEC lead in interceptions with six and was named a First Team All-SEC selection. In only his second season on the field, the talented LSU corner entered 2018 with monumental expectations and he has lived up to every bit of the hype.

Since he locked down his starting spot last season, he has not surrendered it. Starting 25 consecutive games, Williams has now positioned himself to be the next great member from “DBU”, which is considered an illustrious group of Tiger defensive backs.
Positives

Awareness – One of the more encouraging traits about the standout corner is his ability to transition from phase to find the ball in the air and make a play on it. Often times with cornerback prospects in man coverage they are taught to play the arms of the receiver instead of turning their head around and locating the ball. When receivers put their arms in the air in an attempt to catch the ball, corners will swat at them after the ball is already within their reach. The difficult part about that is the timing, which leads to many penalties. This is not the case with Williams. He has the innate ability and speed to remain hip-to-hip in phase, all while seeking the ball.

Length – Being that the NFL has quickly navigated to being such a pass-happy league, teams are now looking for defensive backs that possess length. Length causes disruption for not only receivers at the line of scrimmage, but it also minimize the already small margin of error for quarterbacks’ throwing windows. At 6-foot-2, Williams has the necessary measurables to give perimeter options fits in bump-and-run coverage.

Technique / Patience – When evaluating man-to-man corners, it is interesting to see the differences in techniques taught throughout the country. LSU’s reputation and previous pipeline of players at the position speaks for itself. Williams hips and patience are what stands out. Even though receivers make a lot of movements at the line while trying to generate releases, he remains patient with his eyes always on their chest. Keeping his eyes located there allows him to stare at a still target before timing when to initiate contact with his hands or mirroring with his hips.

Ball Skills – Ball production is a stat that will always matter. Some pay attention to it more than others, but it is an added incentive for prospects that have had success with it in their careers. Williams tied for the SEC lead in interceptions (six) in 2017, but his production in that area has slipped to just two in 2018. There’s multiple reasons for the decline, but many teams haven’t been as reluctant to throw into Williams’ coverage because of the respect for him or simply because of the tight coverage on his assignment.

Negatives

Handsy / Separation Allowed at the Top of Routes – As with most press-man corners, the biggest issue usually lies within their physicality. They are taught many techniques and target areas with their hands. As a result of it, they can become sloppy. This is evident with Williams, as he’s extremely aggressive and competitive. Many times, teams are able to use that against him. He’s a frequent victim to double moves and receivers that are advanced route-runners. Williams is caught hanging onto targets, usually resulting in holding penalties. This issue is correctable, but it may be something that plagues him early on during his career. He tends to use it as a last resort and it’s a panicky habit that he will need to grow out of.

Weight – It’s not hard to notice. Williams has a rail-thin frame and it will be one that he needs to put weight on. With the physical nature of receivers at the next level and with him being so competitive at the line of scrimmage, it would not be surprising to see him struggle some because of his lack of strength and muscle mass throughout his body.

Run Support – A huge concern is his effort in run support. He’s not afraid to tackle, but at times he’s unwilling to do it. His tackling success is inconsistent. Williams is a bit of an “ankle biter” in that he dives at the ankles of ball carriers. In order to become a complete player like many believe he eventually can, he will need to learn how to come up and be somewhat of a threat and a more consistent tackler. Otherwise, teams will frequently target him with certain schemes.

Sheldrick Redwine Jersey

The Browns on Saturday selected Miami safety Sheldrick Redwine with the No. 119 pick in the

fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Redwine is the Browns’ third selection in the draft and the third on the defensive side of

the ball, following LSU CB Greedy Williams (No. 46) and BYU LB Sione Takitaki (No. 80).

“The game is a coverage game. You have to have physicality, but you also have to be able

to have guys that can cover,” Browns Director of College Scouting Steve Malin said. “We

feel like he gives us the flexibility to do that stuff. He has a physical presence but also

he has good ball skills and can play in coverage for us.”

Redwine, who also grew up in Miami, was a two-year starter for the Hurricanes and shined as

a senior. He earned All-ACC honorable mention after compiling 64 total tackles, 3.5 tackles

for loss, three sacks, three interceptions, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.

Redwine had 59 tackles and two interceptions as a junior.

Even as the Hurricanes as a whole struggled last fall, one group starred.

With veterans Sheldrick Redwine, Michael Jackson and Jaquan Johnson in the secondary, no

team in the country did a better job against the pass than Miami, which held opponents to

an average of 135.6 yards through the air per game.

And personnel from across the NFL took notice.

All three of Miami’s veteran defensive backs heard their names called during the final day

of the NFL draft, with Redwine being the first when he was taken in the fourth round by the

Cleveland Browns with the 119th pick.

His selection was followed by Jackson being drafted by the Dallas CCLEVELAND, Ohio — The Browns are trying to re-create the Dawgs on defense, and Miami safety Sheldrick Redwine, drafted with the No. 119 pick in the fourth-round, has the requisite bark.

“You’re looking for dogs,” Browns director of college scouting Steve Malin said Saturday shortly after the pick. “You’re looking for alphas on defense. We’re trying to build a championship team. It takes a special person to get you over the hump.’

A converted cornerback, Redwine (6-0, 196) played free safety at Miami, but can also play strong and will likely challenge free-agent pickup Morgan Burnett for time at strong safety.

“He can play free, strong and nickel,” said Malin.

He was the first of five selections the Browns have on the third and final day of the draft, and the team’s third straight defensive selection. With their first pick, they traded up from No. 49 to No. 46 with the Colts to select LSU cornerback Greedy Williams, surrendering their No. 144 overall pick in the fifth round. That pick was acquired from the Jaguars for running back Carlos Hyde.

The Browns came back in the third round and tabbed Brigham Young linebacker Sione Takitaki at No. 80. Takitaki plays with a violence that the Browns are seeking at the position, and he’s versatile enough to play all three spots, sam, mike and will.

With Williams and Redwine joining Damarious Randall, Denzel Ward, Terrence Mitchell and T.J. Carrie in the defensive backfield, the new Browns might rival the Top Dawgs of the late 1980s.

“We’re excited to add (Redwine) to the organization,” Malin said Saturday shortly after the pick. “He was a corner, converted over to safety, so he can cover. He gives you flexibility to play high or low.”

He said Redwine (6-0, 196), the 13th safety off the board, will also contribute on special teams. The Browns liked several other safeties in this draft, including Juan Thornhill, who went No. 31 overall to the Chiefs.

“This is where you make your roster,” Malin said. “We want to be a championship-caliber football team.”

Redwine had a standout senior season at Miami, starting all 13 games and ranking among Miami’s top defensive starters. En route to All-ACC Honorable mention recognition, he had 64 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, three sacks, three interceptions, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble last year. The three interceptions tied for the team lead and the tackles ranked sixth.

Here’s the scouting report from NFLdraftscout.com’s Ric Serritella, who ranked Redwine as the 10th-best safety in the class in his draft guide:

PROS: Well-built defensive back with broad shoulders, long arms (32 3/8″) and a tapered middle with light feet. Lined up all over the field for Miami, showing the size, agility and awareness to play a similar role in the NFL. Good balance and burst out of his backpedal when lined up in man to man, showing the ability to explode forward to challenge underneath routes. Efficient transition out of his backpedal to run vertically, showing good speed for the position. Keeps his eyes trained on the quarterback and shows good spatial awareness of what’s happening around him, dropping his primary assignment when the ball leaves the quarterback’s hand. Good timing and body control to make the extended interception, using his length and soft hands to high point passes (Virginia).

More of a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type than a true moveable chess piece. Read and react player who is too often caught flat-footed watching and waiting before attacking. Runs a bit hot and cold as a tackler. Sporadic strike zone, bouncing off some ballcarriers with heavy collisions or swiping at the legs of ballcarriers and failing to wrap his arms.

Redwine excelled on the nation’s No. 4 overall defense and No. 1 pass defense at “The U.” He has the speed Browns GM John Dorsey loves, clocking a 4.44 at the combine, sixth-best among safeties and 10th best among all defensive backs. He also posted a 39-inch vertical, fourth-best among safeties.

“I’m a competitor,” Redwine told the Miami Herald, adding that his versatility and football acumen make him valuable.

The safety, who got to wear the Miami turnover chain three times last season, became a fan favorite by scribbling messages to fans on the white board during games that were captured by TV cameras.

Once, he wrote, “Don’t become a fan later.”

NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah described Redwine on a conference call as a “a real physical, sure tackler and excellent blitzer. You see him in the middle of the field some as well as over the slot.”

Sione Takitaki Jersey

Sione Takitaki went from being kicked off the BYU football team after his first season in Provo to being named team captain his last. Now the Cougars’ senior linebacker is headed to the NFL.

The Cleveland Browns selected Takitaki with the 17th pick of the third round of the NFL draft Friday night, No. 80 overall. The selection completed a remarkable rise for Takitaki, who was projected as a sixth- or seventh-round pick before he shined in a couple senior all-star games and put up impressive numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

Browns assistant general manager Eliot Wolf said the club was impressed by Takitaki’s off-the-field turnaround at BYU.

“He is a success story,” Wolf said in a conference call. “You talk to anyone there — they didn’t think he was going to make it his first year. He completely turned his life around.”

Added Wolf: “He is a violent tackler, and plays with a lot of versatility.”

Takitaki, 6-foot-1 and 238 pounds, grew up in Fontana, Calif., and was raised by a single mother. He was involved in a fight in the BYU dormitories before his freshman season, and was only allowed to stay on the team after then-coach Bronco Mendenhall let his teammates vote on the matter.

He would be suspended three more times before his junior season, but turned his life around with the help of his wife, Alyssa, a former BYU swimmer.

“I am very excited for Sione,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake in a school news release. “He will fit perfectly with his talents in Cleveland with a really good coaching staff. Sione is a really versatile athlete and really took advantage of his experience playing three different positions for us. He will just continue to get better.”

Takitaki said he hadn’t talked to the Browns since the combine. He visited seven other franchises, and expected one of them to take him. But he was happy to go to Cleveland, despite it being one of the weaker teams in the league the past few decades.

He is the 17th BYU defender to be taken in one of the three opening rounds of the NFL draft, and 38th BYU player overall. Last year, fellow BYU linebacker Fred Warner went to the San Francisco 49ers in the third round.

Takitaki is the 15th BYU linebacker selected in the draft, joining the likes of Kyle Van Noy (second round), Rob Morris (first round) and Todd Shell (first round).

Provo • It cracks up former BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki when people ask him which team he would most like to play for in the NFL as the draft approaches this week in Nashville, Tenn.

That’s because when you have been on the “remarkable journey” that Takitaki says he has been on, you can’t afford to be picky.

“I would love to play for any team that likes me,” he says.

Takitaki’s troubles at BYU and subsequent turnaround, with the help of his wife Alyssa, have been well-documented. He doesn’t shy away from talking about “that part of my story,” but is also eager to add more chapters, including the realization of a boyhood dream to play in the NFL.

Like Bronson Kaufusi was in 2016, Jamaal Williams was in 2017 and fellow linebacker Fred Warner was last year, Takitaki might be only BYU player taken in the 2019 draft, which begins Thursday with the first round, followed by the second and third rounds on Friday and concluding with rounds 4-7 on Saturday.

Defensive end Corbin Kaufusi — Bronson’s brother — is also a draft possibility, although three surgeries after the season ended kept him out of the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and limited what he could do at BYU’s Pro Day. Running backs Squally Canada, Brayden El-Bakri and Matt Hadley, receiver Dylan Collie, defensive back Michael Shelton and quarterback Tanner Mangum are free-agent possibilities.

So draft weekend drama for BYU fans will center on Takitaki. In which round will he go, and to which team?

He hasn’t a clue, although the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs are among the teams seemingly most interested. Takitaki said he made seven visits the last month to cities that host NFL franchises, while two clubs came to Provo for private workouts outside of Pro Day.

Last week, he spent 40 minutes talking to the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive coordinator via FaceTime and also visited the Houston Texans, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“I think I will be a steal,” Takitaki told KSL-TV. “People are expecting different things. I think I will go sooner than most people think. … Whichever team takes me, it will be a great day to get to that stage, get things going.”

That team will get one of the hardest workers in Kalani Sitake’s tenure in Provo, BYU’s head coach said.

Greedy Williams Jersey

BEREA, Ohio — After trading up three spots, the Cleveland Browns selected Andraez Williams with the No. 46 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

You, however, likely know the LSU cornerback by another name: Greedy.

In addition to being one of the top prospects in this year’s draft, Williams’ lays claim to one its best names, having universally been known as “Greedy” since bursting on the scene as a 4-star recruit in the 2016 class. Only the All-American cornerback’s nickname has nothing to do with his habit of picking off opposing passers, but rather, it was given to him long before his on-field ability had made itself apparent.

Speaking to reporters shortly after being drafted, Andraez told the story of how he became Greedy:

“I got the nickname Greedy from my aunt,” Williams revealed. “I was six-months-old, and I was chugging a lot of milk. She named me ‘Greedy Deedee,’ but they took the ‘Deedee’ off and just kept it ‘Greedy.’ I have been ‘Greedy’ ever since.”

Suffice to say, the name stuck — and for good reason.

In two seasons at LSU, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Williams tallied 19 pass defenses and 8 interceptions. And although some of questioned his tackling ability — and cited it as a reason he slid into the second round — Browns general manager John Dorsey insisted the greedy part of his new cornerback’s game is ultimately what matters most.

“Corners are paid to cover,” Dorsey told reporters in Berea shortly after making his first selection of this year’s draft. “And then the tackling aspect — just get the guy down.”

After trading up three spots from its original position of No. 49, the Cleveland Browns selected LSU cornerback Greedy Williams in the second round (46th overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft.

As one might expect, it didn’t take long for social media to react to the Browns’ addition of the All-American cornerback, which marked Cleveland’s first selection of this year’s draft. And like most transactions since John Dorsey was hired as general manager, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive.

BATON ROUGE, La. — It would be so much more fitting if Greedy Williams had earned his nickname on the football field.

That’s where he gobbled up eight interceptions in two seasons to position himself as the latest first-round NFL draft talent to be churned out of LSU’s cornerback factory.

That’s also where he has an insatiable desire to be considered the best. When asked at the Tigers’ pro day if he believes he is the top cornerback in this year’s draft, Greedy replied with a big smile and an incredulous, “What?! What?!” before going into a speech about how the “stats don’t lie.”

And the football field is where Greedy has gone to work, hoping to use his talent to create a better life for his family — including his 2-year-old daughter, Khloe, and his mother, Lakesha Williams, a single parent who raised four kids in some of the roughest neighborhoods of Shreveport, Louisiana, before she wound up marrying Greedy’s youth football coach.

“Football changed my family’s life,” Greedy said.

The real story is that Andraez Williams became known as “Greedy” when he was 1 month old. That’s when Lakesha’s aunt started calling him “Greedy Deedy” because of the way he gulped through his full supply of bottles so quickly.

But it didn’t take long before he started living up to the hype that comes with a name like that. As his coach-turned-stepfather, Lonnie Bryant, likes to say, Greedy was a “shutdown corner” from the time he started playing football at the age of 5. Even though teams didn’t throw the ball much at that age, Bryant said they all liked to run wide around the edges. And none of them could get around Greedy.

“I knew his time would come, because he just wanted it. He wanted it badder than anybody,” said Greedy’s older brother, Rodarius, who plays cornerback at Oklahoma State. “From him being that hard worker and wanting to be greedy — he’s got the perfect name, because he never gave up on anything.”

Rodarius, who is one year older, naturally boasted that he always used to beat Greedy in everything from sports to video games, “you name it.” But he said that just led to Greedy nagging him with demands like, “Let’s try it again, let’s do it again. You can’t beat me this time. Play me again.”

“If you see that passion in his eyes the first time he touched a football, man it was amazing,” said Rodarius, who was nicknamed “LeeLee” growing up. “We watched him from the house because they practiced outside the house. When we just watched him run up and down the field, I’m like, ‘Is he really doing this?’ He was just running all over the young guys.”

Even more amazing was the way Greedy’s involvement with football wound up transforming the entire family.

Lakesha had her first daughter at age 14. And she doesn’t try to sugarcoat what life was like for her, Greedy, Rodarius and sisters Keandre and Andrea.

“Single mother, young mother, on assistance from the government, housing assistance. We were just going from — I guess I call it from one ‘hood to another ‘hood,” said Lakesha, who described Greedy’s biological father as being in and out of his life.

But Greedy’s passion for football and early success in the sport gave the family something to rally around. Rodarius started playing soon after, too.

Mar 28, 2019

Mike TriplettESPN Staff Writer 

Facebook
Twitter
Facebook Messenger
Pinterest
Email
print

BATON ROUGE, La. — It would be so much more fitting if Greedy Williams had earned his nickname on the football field.

That’s where he gobbled up eight interceptions in two seasons to position himself as the latest first-round NFL draft talent to be churned out of LSU’s cornerback factory.
Editor’s Picks

Kiper's NFL Mock Draft: Projecting 1-32, and where the top QBs land
Projecting booms, busts among top 2019 NFL draft QB prospects
Clemson's defensive line aims to make NFL draft history

That’s also where he has an insatiable desire to be considered the best. When asked at the Tigers’ pro day if he believes he is the top cornerback in this year’s draft, Greedy replied with a big smile and an incredulous, “What?! What?!” before going into a speech about how the “stats don’t lie.”

And the football field is where Greedy has gone to work, hoping to use his talent to create a better life for his family — including his 2-year-old daughter, Khloe, and his mother, Lakesha Williams, a single parent who raised four kids in some of the roughest neighborhoods of Shreveport, Louisiana, before she wound up marrying Greedy’s youth football coach.

“Football changed my family’s life,” Greedy said.

The real story is that Andraez Williams became known as “Greedy” when he was 1 month old. That’s when Lakesha’s aunt started calling him “Greedy Deedy” because of the way he gulped through his full supply of bottles so quickly.

But it didn’t take long before he started living up to the hype that comes with a name like that. As his coach-turned-stepfather, Lonnie Bryant, likes to say, Greedy was a “shutdown corner” from the time he started playing football at the age of 5. Even though teams didn’t throw the ball much at that age, Bryant said they all liked to run wide around the edges. And none of them could get around Greedy.

“I knew his time would come, because he just wanted it. He wanted it badder than anybody,” said Greedy’s older brother, Rodarius, who plays cornerback at Oklahoma State. “From him being that hard worker and wanting to be greedy — he’s got the perfect name, because he never gave up on anything.”
“Football changed my family’s life,” said Greedy Williams, a projected first-round pick in April’s draft. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Rodarius, who is one year older, naturally boasted that he always used to beat Greedy in everything from sports to video games, “you name it.” But he said that just led to Greedy nagging him with demands like, “Let’s try it again, let’s do it again. You can’t beat me this time. Play me again.”

“If you see that passion in his eyes the first time he touched a football, man it was amazing,” said Rodarius, who was nicknamed “LeeLee” growing up. “We watched him from the house because they practiced outside the house. When we just watched him run up and down the field, I’m like, ‘Is he really doing this?’ He was just running all over the young guys.”

Even more amazing was the way Greedy’s involvement with football wound up transforming the entire family.

Lakesha had her first daughter at age 14. And she doesn’t try to sugarcoat what life was like for her, Greedy, Rodarius and sisters Keandre and Andrea.

“Single mother, young mother, on assistance from the government, housing assistance. We were just going from — I guess I call it from one ‘hood to another ‘hood,” said Lakesha, who described Greedy’s biological father as being in and out of his life.

But Greedy’s passion for football and early success in the sport gave the family something to rally around. Rodarius started playing soon after, too.
play
0:52
Top CB draft prospect Greedy Williams flashes confidence

Top CB draft prospect Greedy Williams showed off his confidence, among other skills, at LSU’s pro day Friday. When asked if he’s the best cornerback in the draft, Williams smiled and replied, “What?!” Video by Mike Triplett.

Then the biggest transformation came a few years later, when Lonnie became both a coach and father. “I call Lonnie our hero,” Lakesha said. “Because he matured me, let me see the bigger picture, there’s other things in life. We didn’t know what going out of town was until we met him. So we were taking trips and getting into sports, and I got to learn about sports and got more involved.

“Along with Greedy — I would say he’s the hero, too. Because he’d look at the kids practicing football and said he wanted to play football, too. And I’d say from then on it changed our lives.”

Not only did they move into a better neighborhood together, but the boys credit Lonnie for helping teach them how to be men — and to be fathers. (Rodarius is expecting his first daughter to be born this week.) Lonnie was also an anchor for the family when Lakesha battled cancer about 10 years ago. The rest of the family considers Lakesha a hero as well.

“She’s been all of our rock. I don’t know what I’d do without her … I think at that time they needed me — and I needed them. That slowed me down a little bit, because I became more of a family man,” said Lonnie, who runs the Xpress Sports youth programs in Shreveport, where he also coached fellow LSU first-round draft prospect Devin White as a basketball player on Greedy’s teams when they were in junior high.

“It’s still kind of crazy to me. I don’t even know how she did it, man,” Rodarius said. “Just from working at a hotel to taking care of four kids, day in and day out, making sure we had everything that we need. Man, she did a phenomenal job just staying on us and making sure we didn’t end up like other people we were surrounded with, where we grew up from.

“I’m just lost for words, man. I still don’t know how she did it.”

Greedy already bought his great grandmother her first set of new furniture recently, which touched Lakesha quite a bit. But he has even bigger plans for his mom once he gets his first signing bonus.

“That’s my motivation right there,” Greedy said. “Just watching my mom struggle to get to work, to take care of four kids on her own. Just watching things like that as a kid just makes you want to be in this position where I’m at to be able to just give her the world.

“Give her anything she wants, because she definitely deserves it, how hard she worked for us.”

As for Khloe, whose name is tattooed across the upper half of Greedy’s back, she can have “the whole [bank] account if she needs it.”

Greedy and White both have big plans to give back to the “318,” too, after they begin their promising NFL careers. The two of them have become close since they first met around age 12, each describing the other as a “brother.”

“I trust Greedy with my life, man,” White said. “If you cut him open, I might bleed. That’s how close we are together. I’d give him the clothes off my back.”

Greedy, who is the No. 25 overall prospect in the draft, according to Scouts Inc., still has some odds to overcome, however, if they’re both going to meet their goal of becoming top-10 picks.

Back in January, ESPN draft analysis Mel Kiper Jr. had Greedy projected as the No. 4 overall pick in his first mock draft, comparing the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder to Aqib Talib. But earlier this week, Kiper had him all the way down at No. 29 in his latest mock draft, explaining, “there are questions about his willingness to tackle and about his fluidity in coverage.”

Greedy, who was a second-team Associated Press All-American last season and a first-team selection by some other organizations, has heard questions about his tackling from NFL teams as well.

But his answer is that he wasn’t asked to tackle that much as a man-to-man corner in college.

“I’m not scared to tackle,” Greedy said. “Look, I’m coming with full force. You put me in a Cover 2 zone, you’ll see how I hit. Like I told the scouts, you put me in Cover 2 and that tight end runs in the zone, I’ll show you what I can do.”

Greedy said he’ll play wherever teams want him to line up. But he does consider man-to-man coverage his strength — as he displayed in a signature performance last season against Ole Miss receiver D.K. Metcalf, among others.

“Man-to-man, I can shut anybody down,” said Greedy, who described his bravado as “who I am.”

“A guy who can talk and back it up,” Greedy said. “I’ve got that confidence in me. If I say it, I’ve got to do it, I’ve got to prove it. So it’s been proven.”

Greedy’s 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine turned heads — he tied for second among all cornerbacks with a time of 4.37 seconds. His other drills at LSU’s pro day weren’t quite as elite, but he said he was happy with his performance.

No matter where he gets drafted next month, Greedy and the Williams family are already an inspiring success story. All four of Lakesha’s kids graduated high school, and three of them went to college — the kind of life she wanted for them when she wasn’t able to finish school.

And now a family that once didn’t “know what going out of town was” is planning to be together in Nashville, Tennessee, next month for the NFL draft.

“It doesn’t feel real, really,” Lakesha said. “I’m just happy, I really am. I’m happy for him most of all, because he worked so hard for it.

“He deserves every moment, every spotlight. Whatever it is, he deserves it.”