Deontai Williams’ path to Lincoln had a number of twists and turns. The sophomore safety from Jacksonville seemed all set to go to Florida. He committed to the Gators on Jan. 9, 2014, but decommitted from them six months later and pledged Georgia the same day.
On national signing day 2015, another twist – he signed his national letter of intent to Frank Solich and the Ohio Bobcats.
Only to end up at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, MS.
Williams played his first game with Jones County J.C. in September 2016. He logged four tackles and a crucial fumble recovery in the fourth quarter of a 27-25 win over top-ranked East Mississippi.
Williams got hurt in that quarter, didn’t play again the rest of the season and was granted a redshirt.
He bounced back in 2017 with 26 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles, helping the Bobcats to an 8-2 record and an appearance in the junior college playoffs.
Before that season even began, Florida threw Williams an offer in June and he accepted it.
Jones County ended its season on Nov. 4. Six days before that, Florida and head coach Jim McElwain mutually agreed to part ways. On Dec. 7, Williams decommitted from the Gators a second time.
He was all set to visit UCF in December, that is, until Scott Frost found another job.
Williams took his official visit to Lincoln on Dec. 16. He committed the next day, and signed the dotted line on Dec. 20. He started classes at UNL on Jan. 8.
Whatever happened before was all part of a greater plan for Williams.
He’s a Cornhusker who has three years of eligibility left, and a desire to make big plays in the secondary.
Williams is confident that Erik Chinander’s 3-4 system will allow him to land a big blow here and there, but he knows there’s more that’s expected of him.
Defensive backs coach Travis Fisher said on Saturday that Williams can play either corner, safety or even a little nickel. Williams is learning quickly – he’s not in junior college anymore. This install has been fast. His decision to come to Nebraska was fast. So fast in fact, Williams hasn’t had a chance to fully discover what the state has to offer. It’s a place he had limited knowledge on when he first arrived.