By Jenelyn Russo     11/8/2015

Avery Williams doesn’t remember a time when he didn’t have a football in his hand.

“What got me started in football was really my dad,” says Williams. “He played [college football] at USC, so I want to follow in his footsteps. I’ve been playing ever since I can remember.”

ARVE Error: need id and provider

Williams is now at JSerra Catholic High School, and the 17-year-old senior enjoys the physicality of the strong safety and running back positions he plays for the Lions.

“They’re really physical positions, so I get to hit people and take hits,” says Williams. “It brings a lot of joy to the game.”

As one of the captains for the Lions, Williams leads his team by letting his actions speak louder than his words.

“You’ve got to lead by example,” says Williams. “You’ve got to put in your work so everyone can follow you. It all comes together as long as your teammates believe in you.”

JSerra head football coach Jim Hartigan feels that Williams’ depth of skill and hard work allow him to be a better leader both on the gridiron and beyond.

“Avery is a tremendous young man with a strong desire to be successful in all he does,” says Hartigan. “He has pride in working hard in all areas of his life and sets a great example for all those around him.

“He has brought a great deal of good to our program and school in the form of leadership and performance. He is a good player and even a better person.”

Williams represents the Lions on the track as well, running the sprint events, including the 100-meters, 200-meters and 4 x 100-meter relay. The Laguna Niguel resident believes that the faster he is on the track, the faster he will be on the football field.

“The biggest challenge in football is probably the off-season,” says Williams. “You’ve got to work tremendously hard, because if you don’t put in your hard work in the off-season, you won’t be very good during the season. You have to work hard and stay focused.”

His hopes for his football career after high school include playing at a four-year university while studying business or biological medicine. The discipline and respect Williams has learned from the game are lessons he will carry with him as he takes his next step.

“Football has taught me to basically be disciplined. It’s taught me to respect [others],” says Williams “…be a good person…have self-respect and self-control.”

It may have been his father who introduced him to the sport, but it’s Williams’ mother who is his role model and biggest inspiration on and off the field.

“The person [who] really motivates me is my mom,” says Williams. “She came from nothing. She’s a hard worker. I get my drive from her. I work hard because she works hard.”