Risk pays off for junior college wide receiver Mike Williams as he commits to Huskers

Risk pays off for junior college wide receiver Mike Williams as he commits to Huskers
Nebraska commit Mike Williams caught 30 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns at East Mississippi Community College. (EMCC Athletics)

LINCOLN — Mike Williams took a risk in May 2017, leaving a sure thing at one school with a plan to play at a bigger college. He caught three passes as a freshman at Georgia Southern, but transfered to junior college powerhouse East Mississippi Community College,in hopes of a Power Five conference offer.

Sunday, that offer came from Nebraska. By Wednesday evening, the 5-foot-10, 182-pound receiver had committed to the Huskers. He is expected to officially visit this weekend, enroll in classes next week and participate in spring drills. He announced his decision on Twitter.

“I want to give a sincere thank you to Coach (Scott) Frost and the entire Nebraska football coaching staff for believing in me and trusting me with this opportunity,” Williams’ announcement read in part. “It’s not something I take lightly or for granted.”

Williams said Wednesday he “just felt loved” by Frost and Co.

“I felt like I’d feel at home with them,” he said.

In a Sunday interview, Williams said he liked the straightforward manner with which Frost and NU’s staff pitched the offer.

“They want to use me all over the field,” said Williams, who spent six months at EMCC and doesn’t have a junior college rating from any recruiting service. “I’m explosive and fast.”

Fast enough, Williams said, to run a 4.37-second 40-yard dash over the summer. Fast enough that EMCC, the junior college of “Last Chance U” Netflix fame that won the junior college national title last year, wanted him on its roster. A call to EMCC coach Buddy Stephens wasn’t immediately returned.

Williams had a big year at East Mississippi, catching 30 passes for 669 yards — a 22.3-yard average — and seven touchdowns. His longest play was 84 yards. Williams said he “learned a lot in six months” in tiny Scooba, Mississippi, where the school is located. Only 697 people live in Scooba. It was a far cry from his hometown of Lake City, Florida, which is one hour west of Jacksonville. No entertainment. Not much to do outside of football. Not even a Wal-Mart.

But Williams made that choice after one year at Georgia Southern, which signed Williams — whose name at the time was Mike Jackson — in the 2016 class as a consensus three-star recruit, according to 247Sports. Jackson was offered by Georgia Southern the night before signing day 2016.

He left the school a little more than a year later. The coach who signed him, Tyson Summers, was fired in 2017 after two seasons.

Now, after a big season at EMCC, he’s a Husker.

“It really paid off for me,” Williams said Wednesday.

He’s the second junior college wideout commit in the class, following Arizona Western’s Jaron Woodyard. NU also has high school commits from Katerian Legrone and Justin McGriff.

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