For most students, having to walk miles to football practice might keep them from participating, but not DeMarcous Williams.
Whether he was at home or his grandmother’s house, the Jones County senior made sure to get to practice because he knew what it was like not to have football as an option.
“If I can’t find a ride from anybody, I just walk,” he said. “I always wanted to play football.”
Williams played when he was younger, but when he was in the fifth grade, he began having seizures. He tried to overlook the first couple, but then a bigger one happened that forced him to change course.
“The third or fourth one, I was home sleeping, and I woke up in the ambulance,” Williams said. “That’s when I started being concerned.”
Doctors ran several tests to find the cause of his seizures, but Williams said they never determined one. At first, heat seemed to be the culprit, so he avoided football in middle school.
Then doctors thought excessive sweets might be to blame, but soon the situation changed.
“When I got into high school, it kind of started fading,” he said.
At one time, Williams was having one or two seizures a year, but he hasn’t had one since his junior year. As a result, doctors cleared him to play football.
Besides being a way to get to school, his walking helped him get back into football shape, said Denise Barge, a Jones County nutrition and wellness teacher.
“I know that he’s very determined,” she said. “With the walking, he tried to get fit so he could actually play.”
Williams played linebacker for the Greyhounds, but he also took on a different role at the school. To help his family financially, he works after school with the janitorial staff.
While some students might be embarrassed to do so, Barge said Williams takes it all in stride.
“To me, he’s definitely a well-rounded young man,” she said. “He’s going to be a good man.”
Williams said his job has changed the way he looks at his school.
“It changed a lot because now when I see trash around, I stop and pick it up,” he said.
After graduation, Williams, whose grade-point average is about a 90 out of 100, wants to get into the ROTC program at Georgia Military College. From there, he’s told Barge his goal is to become a chef and even open a restaurant one day.
In Barge’s estimation, his overcoming physical and financial obstacles will serve Williams well down the road.
“He’s learned how to work through all different demands, so he’ll be able to handle being an entrepreneur,” she said. “It’s going to be a great thing.”
To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331.