How do you have a great start to your college career? Scoring a touchdown the first time you touch the ball in a game is certainly a good way. That’s exactly what redshirt freshman economics major Avery Williams did in his first game playing for Boise State. On the fifth play of the game Williams had an 81-yard punt return that helped Boise State to a 24-13 victory over Troy. Williams went on to have an impressive game with five punt returns for 124 yards and a kickoff return for 48 yards. He also played on defense officially recording one tackle.
“It felt like a dream to be honest, running down the sideline. Am I doing this?” Williams said. “It was just a true blessing.”
Williams started out on the scout team last year returning punts, but that never stopped his hard work and energy from coming through.
“I’ve just been enjoying it. I’m very grateful to be here.” Williams said. “There were some people that were in my position that didn’t get this opportunity so I’m just making the most of it.”
Head Coach Bryan Harsin was also impressed with Williams in the first game. According to Harsin when he first came to Boise State the coaches were unsure how to exactly use this versatile player. When they tried him out on the return team, he really shined in practice.
“(We) did not know his return ability (in) the early days, we just knew he would catch almost every punt,” Harsin said. “Avery is a guy that has that fearless mentality to go back there and be a punt returner.”
Despite the great performance, Harsin isn’t getting content.
“I thought he did a good job today with the ball in his hands,” he said. “There are still yards that we left out there. There’s opportunities to play some of those kicks better.”
Williams’ teammates were also excited about his performance, and the return helped shift the momentum to the Broncos’ side.
“(It) was a huge momentum burst to have that punt return,” said sophomore safety Kekoa Nawahine. “He made a lot of great plays today.”
Those big plays didn’t surprise many of Williams’ teammates, who knew that when he had the ball in his hands he could be extremely dynamic. Sophomore running back Alexander Mattison, a communication major, is one of his roommates and was not surprised at what he could do.
“He’s dynamic a lot of people don’t know his background being a running back that helps his ball skills a lot,” Mattison said. “I knew when he had the ball in his hands, when he was in the game, he would be a play-maker.”