Last Tuesday, the University of Manitoba Bisons football team signed its first recruit for the 2017 season. With the Bisons currently ranked second in total offence in the Canada West division, their first recruit of the year was local defensive lineman Brody Williams out of St. Paul’s High School. Williams fits the Bisons’ needs at the linebacker position, coming in at five-foot-eleven and 210 pounds.
Williams led the Crusaders’ defense with 24.5 tackles, and led the school division with 15.5 special team tackles as well. He also had one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in his senior year at St. Paul’s. Williams has played for his father Andy who is a coach at St. Paul’s, and is involved in the Manitoba provincial football program.
Williams was asked about what other teams had consulted him, before deciding to sign with the Bisons.
“For Canada there were about five, and for the U.S. I went to minicamps for the past three to four years,” he said. “I decided best thing for me, best option for me was to stay at home, and to get a Vanier.”
Bisons head coach Brian Dobie compared Williams to current Bison receiver Trystan Dyce.
“He’s a coaches’ eid, I look at Trystan, Bobby Dyce’s son, a receiver with us,” said Dobie. “He runs great routes, he’s got great awareness, he gets the game, he’s a coaches’ kid, and that’s what we see in Brody.”
Williams has a tremendous skill set that he can bring to the Bison linebacking core. He is also a product of a prestigious St. Paul’s program, which Dobie noticed.
“Then you top it off with his physicality, his speed, with who he is,” said Dobie. “He comes from that St. Paul’s program, tremendous integrity, a lot of class, he understands work ethic, he understands commitment. He’s going to be a great leader in our program, as he already is at St. Paul’s.”
Before Williams decided to sign with the Bisons, he asked Dobie if number 51 was available. Dobie replied, citing that he would have to check if it was, but asked him if he knew that it was Dick Butkus’ number. Williams acknowledged that and Dobie was impressed.
“When he said it, it resonated that he’s that kind of linebacker,” he said. “He’s very physical, he is way ahead of the curve in terms of the work he’s done to prepare for where he is now.”
Butkus was a NFL linebacker and a Chicago Bears legend. Williams watched some videos of NFL linebackers on YouTube with his dad, and once he got to Butkus’ videos, that was when he decided he wanted to wear number 51.
“I didn’t see anyone I liked until I saw number 51, and Dick Butkus has really been what I’ve gone after,” he said. “I’ve gone after all his style and I have just tried to start chasing my dreams and keep going with it.”
Williams decided to stay home to play for the Bisons, instead of taking any of the offers he had available to him.
“My main reason was family, and then it came down to playing time,” he said. “Obviously nothing is really earned, you have to earn it yourself, so I am ready to start proving myself and when I do, I’m sure I’ll end up somewhere on the roster.”
At the end of the day, Williams is happy to be a member of the Bisons.
“It’s quite amazing honestly. It’s a great experience to be committed to somewhere that I need to be,” Williams said. “I’m happy to be a Bison for sure now, It’s good to be official right now for sure.”
Dobie has got himself a good young player, who should fit nicely in the Bison defense for the seasons to come. Dobie has been around as the Bisons head coach for a while, and knows a few things when it comes to recruiting new players for his team.