Jamaal Williams on the road to redemption

Published 06/23 2014 07:44PM

Updated 06/23 2014 10:46PM

PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - After running all over opposing defenses last season, BYU running back Jamaal Williams ran into trouble.

Williams was arrested on February 16th for possession of alchol by a minor. Williams, who is only 18, wasn't suspended, but did have to face his team. 

"The mistake that I made and coming back, the first thing I did was apologize," Williams said. "Apologize, own up to your mistake and then go on with your life and show them that you will do anything for this team."

"Anytime you're dealing with young men of that age, I'd love to say they're perfect, but I'm not and nor are they," said head coach Bronco Mendenhall. "I expect small mistakes. I expect the players to recover from them and mature because of them. Jamaal is more mature and more ready because of that mistake."

Just as they did when he suffered a scary concussion last season against Utah, Williams' teammates rallied around him for support.

"He's a young kid," said senior offensive lineman De'Ondre Wesley. "Everybody forgets that he's only 18 years old. Going into his junior year, he's only 18 years old. People make mistakes and we will always have his back. He is our teammate and our brother."

"I never once doubted that because of the things that were going on off the field, Jamaal was distracted," said quarterback Taysom Hill. "I never thought Jamaal wasn't able to put his whole heart and effort into this program."

"It doesn't change who I am or who I want to be in the future," Williams said. "Sometimes you just make mistakes. You just have to overcome them and be the better man that you want to be."

After rushing for 2,008 yards in his first two seasons at BYU, Williams has a chance to become the school's all-time leading rusher -- as a junior. Williams trails Harvey Unga by 1,447 yards headed into this season. 

"I'd like to challenge him and our coaches that Jamaal breaks Harvey's record this year," said offensive coordinator Robert Anae. "That's totally possible."

"Just to have a coach, especially the offensive coordinator, to have faith in you for breaking it this year is tremendous," said Williams. "I can't wait to get started."

Neither can BYU fans. The Cougars kick off the 2014 season August 29th at Connecticut.

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