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Chiefs rookie CB Joshua Williams discusses transition from HBCU football to the NFL

By Ed Easton Jr.

Power 5 conference schools may produce the most NFL talent, but lesser celebrated schools have long cultivated top-tier players for the league. Look no further than the Hall of Fame to see it riddled with players from HBCUs.

Kansas City Chiefs GM Brett Veach has honed in on finding hidden gems late in draft classes, and the selection of cornerback Joshua Williams out of Fayetteville State has the potential to be his latest discovery. Williams, the NCAA Division II standout, spoke about his biggest challenges making the pro transition and his pride in attending an HBCU during Monday’s rookie minicamp press conference.

“The biggest transition would probably be just making sure I know what the differences between the NFL playbooks and the NFL offenses that I see now compared to college playbooks and college offenses,” Williams explained.  “So just kind of taking that step up, expanding my mind, expanding my knowledge. I think, this weekend was a huge learning experience, and I think I got better.”

Williams became Fayetteville State’s first Senior Bowl selection in 2021 and earned first-team All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association accolades with 31 tackles, three interceptions, and six pass breakups. He expressed his pride openly for playing at a historically black college, but he also knows that making it to the NFL was the hard part.

“Well, of course, I love all HBCUs, and I’m very proud of where I came from,” said Williams. “But at the same time, at this level, nobody really cares where you came from. It’s all about results, honestly. So, I’m kind of just focusing on that, being a professional, getting used to it. Of course, I’m definitely prideful of where I came from, and I’m blessed to be where I am and to have experienced everything I have. At the same time, I’m very humbled and eager to fit in here.”

Williams became the first Fayetteville State NFL draftee since 1976 when he was selected by Kansas City in the fourth round. Even though he didn’t attend a Division I school, he knows that he’s on equal footing with his new teammates. Now, Williams just needs to put in the work to ensure the results show on the field.

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