One year ago, Davion Williams was heading into his junior season at Belleville and was getting ready to play football for the first time since eighth grade.
Now, Williams enters his senior season with a scholarship from Michigan State in his back pocket – along with an offer from Spartans Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo to play basketball once the football season comes to an end.
“It doesn’t get any better than that,” Williams told The Detroit News in a phone interview Friday afternoon. “He (Izzo) said I’d have a spot on the team, offering me the chance to play basketball, which is definitely a love of mine."
Football is a love of Williams’ too, but he gave it up after eighth grade to concentrate on basketball, where he became a three-star recruit, getting multiple offers.
But Belleville basketball coach Adam Trumpour could sense Williams was missing football when he saw him watching Tigers game in the fall of his sophomore year.
“His dad (Denorris Williams) is a former Eastern Michigan football player and I really pushed him to play,” Trumpour said. “He’s such a good competitor and such a tremendous athlete. He runs under a 4.5 and has a 38- or 39-inch vertical. He's long (6-2) and rangy and competes, and he’s only going to get better with his technique.”
Williams attended Michigan State’s basketball camp with his Belleville teammates on June 16, playing a game that Friday night, then again the following morning with MSU football coach Mark Dantonio and Izzo looking on. He attended MSU’s football camp later that day and was offered a scholarship by Dantonio.
“Coach Dantonio took me into his office and said, 'We have an offer for you again, Davion,' and that’s when I committed,” said Williams, who also had offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Syracuse, Purdue, Wisconsin and UCLA. “They offered me before (in May), but I wanted to go and show them what I could do, show my ability, that I could play with the best and I could play at this level. I felt I did a great job of that.
“This is my dream school and I felt great vibes. I told my dad, told my mom, told Coach Crowell, told Coach Trump: ‘I’d like to play at that school, spend four years of my life there,’ and we made it happen.
“Really, it was unbelievable when I looked up and saw those two legendary coaches watching me play basketball that Saturday, but I think my dad was even more excited when Coach Izzo and Coach Dantonio were talking to him. He still talks about it to this day, saying, ‘I had Coach Dantonio and Coach Izzo talking to me about my son and it can’t get no better than that.'"
Williams has risen up the recruiting rankings and is now the No. 2 cornerback in the state and No. 6 in the Midwest, according to Scout.com.
“It was a lot of hard work,” Williams said. “They say if you work hard at things it pays off and I really believe in that. After basketball practice I’d bring my football clothes and go to work. I worked every day, every night.”