Andre Williams, record-setting RB

Williams led the FBS through Week 14 with 2,102 rushing yards

Originally Published: December 12, 2013
By Adam K. Moussa | ESPN The Magazine

Andre WilliamsJonathan Wiggs/The Boston GlobeWilliams says he knows there's more to life than the years he gets to play football.

This is an extended version of a story that appears in ESPN The Magazine's Dec. 23 Interview Issue. Subscribe today!

Andre Williams left his final regular-season game with a bum shoulder and 29 yards, but he still led the FBS with 2,102 rushing yards through Week 15, an ACC single-season record. Under first-year coach Steve Addazio, Boston College went from two wins to its first bowl bid since 2010, and Williams needs 57 yards to pass TCU RB LaDainian Tomlinson for fifth on the FBS single-season list. He's set to graduate a semester early with a degree in applied psychology and human development.

I'M STILL JUST MARVELING at the season: the new coach, so many questions going into it, people saying we wouldn't win any games. It's sad that I couldn't finish with a win against Syracuse, but everything happens for a reason. It's good that I get to rest my shoulder, because we have one more game. I really can't complain.

Being one of four kids taught me that sometimes you have to wait your turn. My parents, they're Jamaican immigrants, never instilled a love for sports in us. It was always: Go to school and keep your grades up. But my oldest brother was into sports. I grew up watching him bring home different trophies -- basketball, football, track and field. I was getting bored just riding my bike, and the most fun game to play with my friends was kill the man with the ball. I was so good at it. That's why I went into karate and taekwondo; but you're only supposed to use martial arts for defense. I wanted to try something different. I was in a car accident when I was 2 and had a pretty bad head injury, so my mom didn't really want me to play football. She kept me out in seventh grade but let me play the beginning of eighth.

My older brother motivated me. He's eight years older, but I'm closer to him than any of my family. He also played running back and wore No. 44. He got in trouble in high school and didn't get to go as big; he played a year at New Hampshire and decided school wasn't his thing. I'm just trying to pick up where he left off. I'm inspired by my mom and big brother. They have been with me since day one, encouraging me and just telling me to keep on going. I don't think there is too much else in the world more important than family. The fans come and go. Coaches come and go. Players come and go.

I do want a career in football. The sport takes so much time and effort, so without dreams of going farther, I don't know why people would play at this level. But life is bigger than the years you get to play football. Some people figure it out sooner rather than later; I'm one of those people. Once I have a family, I want to spend time with my wife and kids. I don't want to be stuck doing anything mindless. I want an aristocratic life in a sense. I want to learn to fly a plane, take it across the sea with my wife on a Sunday and fly back for dinner. I want to build houses. I want to open a nonprofit. I want time to explore my interests and see what the world is about.

I have 2 Timothy 1:7 tattooed on my chest: "For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a miraculous power, love and sound judgment." I repeat it before games. Spirit is stronger than the mind, stronger than the body, and it can carry you when your other faculties fail. But not with fear in your heart. Your love has to be bigger than your fears.

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