UNC S, Deunta Williams Interview
Deunta Williams played college football at the University of North Carolina. He totaled 188 tackles and 12 interceptions during his collegiate career. He didn’t get to play during his senior season in college due to an NCAA rule violation. He entered the 2011 NFL Draft, but gave up his opportunity to play for a team due to an injury. Check out our interview before the 2011 NFL Draft.
Announcement : My name is Max Strauss with http://prointerviews.org/, http://facebook.com/ProInterviews/ and http://twitter.com/ProInterviews/. I’d like to welcome you to the interview with Deunta Williams. Deunta attended the University of North Carolina and played throughout each year while he was there. He finished his junior and senior season with 97 tackles, 6 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble. He broke his leg in the Franklin American Music City Bowl Game. He has been going through rehab, and he has entered the 2011 NFL Draft. He will eagerly to wait find a new home this week. Here is the interview with Deunta. I hope you enjoy the collage also.
Strauss : How do you connect with your fans?
Williams : Well, you see them at games and stuff especially here at Carolina, we had an Old Well Walk. We would always get a chance to see them before we played the game and what not. We did it that way. I was walking on Franklin Street last night to get something to eat, and seeing a couple of fans out there, I always stop and show love to them if they recognize me.
Strauss : If you weren’t playing in the NFL, what would you want to do?
Williams : I think it’d be something involving kids and sports back in my hometown. That’s definitely something that I want to do after I get done playing. I remember days when I was growing up playing in the rec league, and I couldn’t get to my practices so I couldn’t go to practice. But, my coaches came and picked me up, things of that nature, so that I could play. Waiving the fee and stuff like that, and all types of things, I want to make sure that kids get the same opportunities that I did.
Strauss : What was your high school football experience like?
Williams : It was okay. My first three years we had pretty good teams. My senior year, we had a change in the coaching staff, and I really understood the difference in having coaches and stuff like that. It’s very dramatic. Sometimes, it can be very positive, but it wasn’t a very positive experience for our senior team that year.
Strauss : What was your transition like to UNC?
Williams : It was pretty decent. I was always a pretty good student so it wasn’t an issue as far as grades. You get a little more freedom and stuff so you got to start yourself up, you got to be the one that wakes yourself up, and makes sure you go to class, and makes sure you’re on top of everything… Things of that nature. As far as athletic-wise, it was bigger difference. My school wasn’t very up-to-date when it comes to football. I ran into guys like Hakeem Nicks, who where their high school was basically like a college. My high school wasn’t like that. We only had about three different defenses that we played. It was a couple of different offensive plays. It wasn’t anything complicated. It was kind of an adjustment having to learn that, but I was always a kind of smart guy, so I was able to pick up on it pretty well.
Strauss : You mentioned ‘Hakeem Nicks’. What’s it like to practice against Hakeem [Nicks] and Greg Little?
Williams : It’s been a great experience. Hakeem [Nicks], [Brandon] Tate, Brooks Foster, and Greg [Little]. Those were all great guys that I got a chance to play against. It’s just very hard to say which one was the best, because all of them had different attributes. I count it as an honor. It’s kind of like iron sharpening iron. That’s the deal at Carolina.
Strauss : On the other side of the ball, you played with Robert Quinn. What’s it like to have a phenomenal defensive end play with you?
Williams : To his credit, he’s a great athlete and a great guy as well. One thing about him is that he’s very humble, and a freak of nature. There’s no way getting around that. But, we have freaks of nature everywhere on our team. We all grinded together. We all played together. So, we all got very good together.
Strauss : What do you remember from that Boston College game where you had three interceptions?
Williams : One thing about it, it was my birthday, I turned 22 on that day. Another thing was I had a dream the night before about me doing that, about me having three interceptions, and doing some of those things that I did. It was kind of crazy. I was telling people about my dream that I had the night before the game and it actually came true.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory from UNC?
Williams : I have a couple favorite memories. My most important and favorite memory was when I got my degree. A lot of my home boys were there with me. But, football-wise, I think when we beat Notre Dame, that feeling that we had when we were at home. Also, probably when we beat Florida State, and we beat Virginia Tech at V-Tech.
Strauss : This past year in the beginning of the year you were suspended, why were you suspended?
Williams : The reason that I was suspended was because I took a trip to California and while I was there I asked my friend who used to play at Carolina to book hotel arrangements for me. When he did that, they counted that as a violation. We, my roommate at the time and I, paid him back, but they still considered that a violation.
Strauss : What do you think was the most important thing you learned from being suspended and having to miss football games this season?
Williams : I won’t really say it was something to really learn about. I felt like it was kind of a witch-hunt type of thing. But at the same time, I count it as I was responsible for what I did. I just counted it as that. I’ve always been the kind of guy that goes through those type of things, not blaming things on other people.
Strauss : You broke your leg in a Bowl Game, and then you had surgery in early January. What has been the process that you’ve gone through?
Williams : Just rehabbing everyday. Two and three hours a day. Then working out afterwards or before. I just had minor surgery to take the screw out of my foot, so I can get back to running and sprinting and stuff like that.
Strauss : You were invited to the combine. What was it like?
Williams : It was a good experience. It definitely showed the business side of things, what to expect, and to get around guys that all got the same goals, or trying to go to the same places. I think that was a good thing just for me to experience that. Also, for me to see my competition just for the draft. To see how you measure up against all the other great athletes in your position.
Strauss : What was your Pro Day like?
Williams : It was about the same. Just to see all the great athletes that we got here at Carolina. It was actually bonkers. They had all types of Head Coaches and all types of people there. I’ve never seen a Pro Day like that–ever.
Strauss : What’s the most important attribute that you bring to an NFL team?
Williams : I don’t know. I don’t know what the most important one would be. I try to do a lot of different things when it comes to eating right, my pass coverage, my covering skills, my tackling. I feel that everyone has to work on parts of their game, and I just feel like that I work on all of it, not to the point of where I’m in the prime of my career yet. I’m working to get that point. I feel like my knowledge of the game, I know football. I’ve been around it. I’m a student of the game. I study football, so things come very naturally for me. At my position, safety, I can play free safety or strong safety or play nickel, so I can do a lot of different things with my athletic ability.
Strauss : If you could compare your game to anyone in the NFL, who would you compare your game to?
Williams : My coach used to always talk about me and Sean Taylor. I didn’t strike quite as fierce as he did. I mean I’m a little bit lighter then him as well. But, the way I played kind of reminded him of Sean Taylor. Coach Davis, of course, being around Sean Taylor. He said those things about me. I feel like Darren Sharper is another guy that I could model my game after, or say that we kind of compare.
Strauss : What’s a better feeling making a big hit or intercepting the ball?
Williams : Aw man! I mean they’re both very valuable parts to playing safety or in the secondary. I think intercepting the pass is my joy. I love intercepting the pass, and getting the ball back in my hands. I used to play receiver coming into college, so you know receivers always want the ball in their hands. I still kind of have that mentality back there.
Strauss : What do you think your draft day experience will be like?
Williams : I think it will be a good experience. I’m not really nervous. I just want to know exactly where I’m going to be living at. Find out about my financial situation, and go on from there. I’m looking forward to working hard and seeing how I can help whatever team drafts me.
Strauss : If you could describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?
Williams : (laughs). Uhhh… I really don’t know to be honest with you man. My favorite ice cream is Cookies N’ Cream, so I don’t know. I don’t know with that one, man.
Strauss : For someone who wants to play in the NFL or even Division One football, what’s the best advice you can give them?
Williams : I think that with hard work you can accomplish anything. I accomplished and made a lot of plays out there on the football field. There were a lot of gains in the offseason to my hard work and dedication. I think the mind is a very powerful tool. I think that if you can beat people mentally by you out-working them, and you knowing that you’re outwork them, then that explicates your athletic ability a lot.
Strauss : Is there anything else you want to tell your fans that we haven’t really talked about?
Williams : I think one part that never really gets out to the public as much as I would like is that I’m a very religious guy. I don’t know if my fans, or whoever really knows that, as much as I would like them to. I love G-d. G-d is the savior of my life. Without him, I truly don’t know where I would be today. I really appreciate all of the blessings that he bestowed upon me.
Strauss : Thank you so much for your time Deunta. I really appreciate it.
Williams : No problem. Take care of yourself Max. I hope your site does well and all that stuff.
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