ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — When Seth Williams, who grew up near Tuscaloosa and had a scholarship offer from his hometown Alabama Crimson Tide, instead decided to play for rival Auburn University, it was a big deal.
There was a large ceremony for his letter of intent ceremony in his high school auditorium. Williams, a 6-foot-3 receiver, sat in the middle of a long table draped with his Paul W. Bryant High School banner. His dad, Robert, a city and school bus driver, was seated directly on his left and his mom, Tonya, who works in the adult disability field, was on his right. His sister Shanquela and his high school coach Eldrick Hill were also at the table. At least 20 of Williams’ high school teammates stood behind the table. The newspapers were there.
“The recruiting process was crazy,’’ Williams said in a sit-down interview with 9NEWS. “Alabama was my first offer. So knowing that I was probably bound to go to ‘Bama but I chose another road and I went to Auburn. I felt like it was the best fit for me.”
Williams said his parents provided him and his sister with a loving household growing up and he remains loyal to his family and roots. But as is common among teenagers closing in an adulthood, Williams had an itch for independence. And so he went three hours across state to play his college ball.
“Yeah, just trying to get away from all that I had seen,’’ Williams said. “Because my house was not too far from the campus, really. I wanted new scenery and to try something different.”
After three mostly productive seasons at Auburn – Williams started as a true freshman and had a sensational sophomore season before his numbers slipped a bit during the whacked out COVID season of 2020 – he was selected by the Broncos in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
> Video above: Broncos underway with OTAs.
He is no scared rookie. He arrived with 21 other new professionals on May 13 for the start of the Broncos rookie minicamp and it’s been football boot camp ever since. The rookies stay at a hotel and are bussed to Broncos headquarters every morning and bussed back each evening. After their rookie minicamp, the rooks accompanied the vets for a one-week Phase II program of football drills, followed by OTA practices that begin its third week Monday.
Weekends are for playbook study. That’s four weeks of nothing but football with two weeks to go – plus at least one more week of rookie classroom work.
“That’s true, but it’s fun,’’ Williams said. “You’ve got to be where your feet are. So I don’t take that for granted at all. I don’t care about getting on the bus and coming here, I don’t care about being here all the time. We’re playing football, doing something I like to do. I love to do. So I’m not tripping about that at all. We can be in basic training minicamp, as long as we’re playing football, I don’t care.”
Word is Williams has been impressing the Broncos’ coaching and personnel staffs, even if there is no obvious path to getting him getting him game-day offensive reps. Receiver may be the most talented position on the team, at least until general manager George Paton went crazy with cornerbacks this offseason. The hidden, never-to-be-discussed offseason blueprint figures to have Williams contributing on special teams to start his rookie season and perhaps working his way into the No. 4 or 5 receiver rotation by year’s end.
And then with Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick hitting free agency next March, see where Williams is in his development. Not that Williams is conceding his rookie season to development alone.
“I always set high goals for myself,’’ Williams said. “That’s just how I am. Like you said the room is stacked with a lot of talent and I’ve been out there every day just watching them compete, watching them do what they do and I’m learning from it. Like you said, the blueprint is already laid out but it can be changed at any time. I’m just trying to do what the team needs me to do and play my role.”
Williams and Anthony Schwartz, a track sprinter who was selected in the third round by the Cleveland Browns, were Auburn’s top two receivers the past two seasons. The taller Williams was always the man in the red zone as he used his size to catch 17 touchdowns in his three seasons.
How does he see his college game transferring to the NFL?
“I feel like I can do the same thing I did in college and open up more,’’ Williams said. “Just being able to learn that playbook and learn different routes and I feel I can be used all over the field, not just in the red zone.”
In his time with the Broncos, Williams has been especially focused on learning the art of NFL route running.
“Not being too extra in the route and not being too lackadaisical in the route,’’ he said. “Just get more knowledge because these defenses in the NFL are way different than in college. So I’ve got a lot to learn, but it’s coming. It’s a process but it’s going to happen.”
Seth Williams’ stats at Auburn:
Year ………… C ….… Y … Y/C .… TD
Freshman: ... 26 ….. 534 … 20.5 .… 5
Soph: ……... 59 …... 830 … 14.1 .… 8
Junior: …….. 47 ….. 760 …. 16.2. … 4
Total: ……. 132 … 2,124 .… 16.1 … 17
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