Parents: LaSandra and Yarbrough Williams
High School: Knightdale
Also Considered: Averett University, Shaw University
Major: Sports Management
Why Elizabeth City State? “I want a chance to play and continue my football career,” Jaelen said, noting he will have a chance to fight for a spot to play as a freshman at Elizabeth City State. He thinks he’ll be able to focus on school and football there without many distractions. “Nothing is really around out there. I’m in love with sports and I just wanted to stay around it for my career.”
Most Memorable: Jaelen’s entire senior season was memorable to him. “I feel like I had a breakout year, trying to carry my team anyway I could, and I barely stepped off the field. It was (hard) because I was literally in on every (play) minus (point after attempts).” He’s looking forward to getting to stick to one position in college.
Notable: Jaelen was a corner, safety, outside linebacker, return man and running back at Knightdale. He was named all-Greater Neuse River 4A Conference and all-academic his junior and senior seasons. He led the Knights in all-purpose yards (1,016) and led the GNRC in return yards (754, the fourth most in the state) his senior season.
Knightdale defensive backs coach Stephen Larkins: “Defensively, Jaelen’s versatility was the main part of our success on defense. With him on the field, we had a person with four years experience who was able to drive and push his teammates to be their best. He led by example more than words, on the field and in practice. His ability to process what was happening on the field enabled us to make adjustments faster than we would have if he was not on the field. His physicality, bar none, he was most physical on the team. Every tackle was a sure tackle. Some of the hits he had on the season kind of changed the tone of the game, kind of took the wind out of some of the other teams’ sails. He’s virtually not replaceable. He also won games with us with kickoff returns; he made some game-changing returns. There was not one thing we asked Jaelen Williams to do that he couldn’t do. He could do anything.”