Senior Jesse Williams put Bronson football on the map.
Despite only playing two seasons of football, he made an immediate impact.
As a junior, he led Bronson with 17 catches for 330 yards and three touchdowns, including a long of 64 yards. He averaged 19.4 yards per catch in leading Bronson to the postseason.
In 69 years of playing football, the Eagles had never won a playoff game or hosted one. They did both in 2020.
It was the first time that Bronson had made the playoffs since 2002.
“Jesse was a diamond in the rough that I saw three years ago when I came to Bronson and after a year of talking, he finally decided to give football a try and from day one it was clear that he was special,” said Bronson football coach Russell Holley. “Having Jesse play football, it took our team to another level.”
Williams played free safety, wide receiver, quarterback, returned punts and kicks, punted, and he also kicked off for the Eagles.
His hard work on the gridiron has paid off as he signed on Thursday with Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.
‘It means a lot to be able to play football at the next level,” he said. “I never really thought that I would be pursuing athletics in college so I’m happy I’ll be able to play football while also studying to be in the medical field.”
Williams showed his big-play capability in a 56-0 win against Franklin County this past October.
He had a 44-yard touchdown reception and a 62-yard punt return for a score. He also had a scoop and score, returning a blocked field goal 73 yards for a touchdown.
“Every team we played had to know where he was at all times,” Holley said. “Jesse has brought schools for recruitment on our campus that before him didn’t know where Bronson was even located.”
Florida State noticed his potential and wanted him to be a preferred walk-on. However, Williams chose to put his academics first.
“I had a couple of offers from other D3’s, D2’s, and a preferred walk-on offer from FSU, but ultimately my main goal has always been to focus on academics in college,” Williams said. “Luckily Rhodes has a great medical program and I’ll also be able to play football so that’s why I chose to commit there.”
Williams averaged 31.4 yards per catch as a senior and finished with eight touchdown receptions. He finished with a team-leading 843 all-purpose yards.
He was recognized as an honorable mention selection on the 2021 Mainstreet Daily News All Area Football Team small school offense and was a first team selection on defense after recording six interceptions for the 5-5 Eagles.
“Jesse is a generational type of player,” Holley said. “He has tremendous athletic ability that is still untapped in football (only playing two years). He possesses great character, and a love of learning second to none. His drive for success is a fire that burns inside of him.”
The 2022 valedictorian and multisport athlete also excelled in basketball, earning a spot on the Mainstreet Daily News All Area first team after averaging a double-double (15.1 points and 10.2 rebounds) for the Eagles, along with 3.6 assists and 4.1 steals per game.