Ever since Carson Williams began concentrating on basketball in high school, his mind would wander back to his decision to leave football after the 8th grade.
As his excellent college basketball career was winding down, Williams — the newest member of the Las Vegas Raiders — found himself thinking about the gridiron more and more.
Then a year ago while preparing for his senior basketball season at Western Kentucky, Williams — the 2016 High School Mr. Kentucky — met George Fant. Like Williams, Fant played hoops for the Hilltoppers.
Fant, who spent his fifth year of college eligibility playing football, signed with the Seattle Seahawks in 2016 an an undrafted free agent. The offensive tackle is now entering the second of a three-year, $30 million deal with the New York Jets.
“George was telling me I should start thinking about what he did,” Williams told Silver and Black Pride in a phone interview on Wednesday. “What he was telling was what I was already thinking.”
At 6’5 and 250 pounds, Williams played his senior season while knowing “the writing was on the wall that the NBA wasn’t in my future.” So, he decided to make a run at the NFL. Williams has been fully preparing for a football career since basketball season has been over (he started 117 college games), so he and Fant worked out several days a week.
Now, of course, they are both fellow NFL players after Williams signed with the Raiders on Monday meaning that he will be a tight end in training camp this summer. The Raiders were actually one of several teams to scout Williams, who had an impressive pro day earlier this spring. Williams visited the Baltimore Ravens before heading to Las Vegas, and despite other visits planned, he ended his trip inking with the Silver and Black.
Welcome to the TSEG Family & congrats to @WKUBasketball former star Forward & CURRENT 2021 NFL TE/OL Draft Prospect, @Cwilli2332. Carson put down the basketball to pursue his @nfl dreams with an amazing debut at yesterday’s @wkufootball Pro Day! Well done, Carson! #NFL #TSEG pic.twitter.com/bjrdWjpKog— TheSportsEntGroup (@TheSportsEntGrp) April 2, 2021
“The fit just seemed right,” Williams said. “Coach (Jon) Gruden is very positive and he is excited. I feel good about it.”
Williams know his challenge is steep — yet he feels that with his preparation with Fant plus extensive film study, he will be up for it. Williams is now spending his days watching Raiders’ film to prepare for the offense. He is also watching film of great tight ends, including for Chargers’ star Antonio Gates, who is the most famous college hoopster turned NFL star.
“It has happened before,” Williams said. “I’m going to do all I can and give this my best.”