Pin It

The Big Man 

Eastern returns to the field to defend its title with one very large, very fast defensive tackle.

click to enlarge Renard Williams
  • Renard Williams

A decade ago, Renard Williams returned to his Port Orchard home a shattered man. A shattered boy, anyway. Williams had been cut by the eighth-grade basketball team at Marcus Whitman Junior High School. That wasn’t easy for a kid who’d been dreaming of playing in the National Basketball Association.

“I quickly found out that I needed to take another route,” Williams says now.

Williams decided to change his dream to playing in the National Football League. A year from now, Williams’ NFL dream may be realized: the Eastern Washington defensive tackle is ranked No. 1 among Football Championship Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-AA) prospects for the 2012 NFL draft.

“Third or fourth round is what people have been throwing around, but that doesn’t mean anything,” says Williams, who is ranked No. 116 overall (fourth round) among 2012 draft prospects by

“I could come out and have a horrible senior year and drop, or I could come out and have a hell of a senior year and move up.”

Eastern coaches and players are betting heavily on the latter.

Very heavily.

“At this level, I’ve never seen anything close to the size to go along with the quickness and the explosion that he has,” coach Beau Baldwin says.

Linebacker Zach Johnson agrees. “It’s still amazing to see, and I’ve been around him for five years.”

Williams stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 305 pounds, give or take a ham sandwich. Basically, he’s a refrigerator with legs that move with bizarre speed and quickness for a man his size.

“The first look you take, ‘Ah, he’s not going to be very fast,’” Eastern center Chris Powers says. “The first thing he does is he shows you quick hands, a quick spin move over the back … You’re like, ‘What the hell just happened?’”

Williams earned first-team FCS All-America honors last season, and he’s a consensus first-team preseason All-American this year. Sporting News magazine predicts Williams will earn the Defensive Player of the Year award in the Big Sky Conference.

As affable off the field as he is ferocious on the field, Williams is quick to admit he wasn’t tough enough physically or mentally until last season — his first as a full-time starter.

“He’ll say his ‘motor’ wasn’t going like he wanted it to,” Baldwin says, “but even in those early years, there were still opposing coaches saying to me that he was the guy they feared the most.”

Williams recorded a career-high 54 tackles last season, despite drawing two or even three blockers much of the time. The extra attention caused his quarterback sacks to drop from 9 1/2 in 2009 to 6 1/2 last year, but Baldwin said that’s misleading.

“He has the ability to just disrupt the whole game,” Baldwin says. “I mean, he really does … He can make people behind him — I’m talking about linebackers and ultimately the secondary — he can make them great just by what he can do to disrupt the line of scrimmage.”

Williams is nearing completion of his communications degree. Marriage to longtime girlfriend/roommate Ashley Kvamme is “definitely” in the plans.

“It’s about time,” Powers jokes. Williams just seems to need a little extra time on certain matters. He cannot wait, however, to prove to everyone that the Eagles can repeat as national champions.

“I definitely like our odds,” he says. “We all know we’re going to have the big target on us.

“Everyone wants to knock off the national champs, so week in and week out, we’re going to have to bring our ‘A’ game.”

  • Pin It

Latest in Arts & Culture

  • Multimedia Composer
  • Multimedia Composer

    "Force of Attraction" reflects Larry Ellingson's fascination with light, sound and making art with unusual stuff
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • The Closer
  • The Closer

    Distilled: Crying in our beers
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • For Your Consideration
  • For Your Consideration

    A great read, a helpful comic and fresh hops abound
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
In Search of Lost Time

In Search of Lost Time @ Chase Gallery

Mondays-Fridays. Continues through Jan. 5

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Howie Stalwick

  • Capping a Career
  • Capping a Career

    Spokane's Joe Dahl is set to anchor WSU's offensive line in his senior season
    • Sep 2, 2015
  • Pine Bowl Pride
  • Pine Bowl Pride

    Whitworth's second-year coach has the Pirates believing
    • Sep 2, 2015
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Keeping the Faith

    A Chattaroy father-son team's search for Noah's Ark takes them to the top of Turkey's Mt. Ararat
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • Sasquatch Man

    A man in Chewelah says he can communicate with Sasquatches and aliens, and also find water in the ground
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
Culture & Food



for your consideration



© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation