The University of the Cumberlands (UC) takes pride in its athletes and their abilities. One athlete, Wendall Williams (Syracuse, NY), has done many things both on the football field and on the track for the Patriots in the last two years. After winning the NAIA National Championship in the long jump his junior year, he would break school and NAIA records during his senior season of football for kick return yards in a single game. Now, he’s setting new records on a much larger level.
Williams would earn an invite to the Minnesota NFL Regional Combine on Saturday, March 5th at Winter Park, the home of the Minnesota Vikings’ practice facility. While there, Williams would be performing numerous tests that are held at every NFL combine including the 40 yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, the three cone drill, and the shuttle run. Over 180 players were scheduled to compete at the event, but Williams may have stolen the show as he would set a new NFL Combine record in the 40 yard dash while tying the record for the vertical jump.
Williams, a wide receiver/kick returner for the Patriots, set the new NFL Combine record for the 40 yard dash with a time of 4.19 seconds (hand clocked). The old record was set by Chris Johnson, who attended East Carolina University and has since played in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans, the New York Jets, and is currently with the Arizona Cardinals. Johnson’s old record of 4.24 seconds was set back in 2008. Williams also tied the record for the vertical jump with a leap of 45.0 inches. That record is shared by Chris Conley from the University of Georgia (2015) and Donald Washington from Ohio State University (2009). Tweets from the NFL Regional Combine account were sent shortly after the record-setting accomplishments.
Although training since the end of the 2015 football season at Cumberlands, Williams has recently been training at the Sparta Training Camp in Fishers, Indiana. Over the last 6-8 weeks, Williams has focused specifically on combine workout training, passing route running, and receiving drills along with a change in his diet and sleep habits.
UC Football Head Coach Matt Rhymer commented, “Wendell is a dynamic athlete with lots of obvious talents, abilities and skills. He is the most explosive player I have ever seen, especially when he has the ball. When Wendell had the ball for us, it was always an explosive play and a touchdown on most of those plays. The percentages of Wendell scoring the ball when he touched it were so high that we could almost pre-determine touchdowns. We are a triple option team which limited his overall number of touches, but when we needed a big play, we had designed plays for him that we felt confident would score or set up a score. I am confident that Wendell can play professional football. He has great determination and character and I hope he makes a team and finds success.”
Former UC Assistant Track and Field Coach BJ Temple, who has been working with Williams during the offseason, added, “The goal of going to this combine event was to increase his stock. Those who have been around Wendall know he’s a special athlete and person. Today, he had the opportunity to show a bigger audience what he can do. It is the beginning of an exciting journey that hopefully lands him on the right NFL team. He has really worked hard to be where he is right now. Wendall has been very coachable and a great teammate. Each day, week, and month that has passed by since his arrival at UC, he’s become better and committed to being even greater. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
After completing the workouts at the combine, representatives of the Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Minnesota Vikings all interviewed with Williams to talk about his success.
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Story courtesy of UC Multimedia/Athletic Services