Williams enjoys new role as Michigan State fullback

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing – — Delton Williams understands plenty about what it means to get a second chance.

A year ago, the running back from Erie, Pa., was suspended by Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio following a weapons charge after a campus incident. That came on the heels of losing his brother to a shooting in Erie in December 2014.

It was a tough time for Williams, especially considering he looked to be one of the primary ball-carrying options for the Spartans headed into 2015. Instead, he had to work his way back, getting reinstated in early August and going through last season without a scholarship.

The playing time was just as absent as the scholarship, as Madre London, LJ Scott and Gerald Holmes took nearly all the carries.

Now, as spring practice continues, Williams expects to be back on scholarship this summer and looking for snaps at a new position — fullback.

“The change is really not that big,” Williams said. “It’s just some minor little things I’ve got to get right, basically like patience-wise coming through the blocks and stuff like that. It will be all right.”

It’s a position of need for Michigan State after the graduation of Trevon Pendleton, and it might fit Williams.

Dantonio said he expects the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Williams to step in and play tailback at times, but he has the right mindset to be a fullback.

“I ain’t even going to lie to you guys, I’m a rowdy guy, I like to hit, I like the contact, I like to deliver the blow,” Williams said. “Sometimes I get knocked down, but, hey, I’ve been knocked down all my life, it’s all right. I love the contact, so the fullback position, I can say it’s for me.”

If it is for him, he could add another playmaker to the offense. Williams ran for 316 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore in 2014, and has seven career touchdowns.

He’ll also provide the sort of leadership the Spartans can use with their share of seniors from the offense now off to the NFL.

“I’ve been through some things in my life, and the things they’re going through I’ve already been through,” Williams said of his younger teammates. “I’m not saying I know everything, but being the older guy I try to give them some tips on personal life, on the field, just all the types of the things that can help them to grow as men and become better people in life.

“While I’m here, I’m going to give them as much as I can. I’m a caring person.”

It’s the reason Williams is playing fullback. And it’s the reason, instead of transferring, he and his mother decided he’d stay at Michigan State and pay their way.

“I’m not about myself, that’s why I’m moving to fullback,” Williams said. “You don’t see me on social media or talking about, ‘Ah, man I’m ready to go somewhere else.’ It’s not about that. It’s all about what opportunities you get you run with them.”

He’s making the most of that opportunity now.

If Williams stays at fullback this fall, he has at least one believer in linebacker Riley Bullough. Williams said he sees himself as the “Riley of the offense,” trying to emulate the senior linebacker with his leadership this season.

“I think he wants to be an intense guy, a vocal leader, which is evident if you watch practice,” Bullough said.

“I take that as a huge compliment from him and I think he’s done a great job.”

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

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