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Debo Williams reflects on football career, legacy at South Carolina

Griffin Goodwynby:Griffin Goodwyn06/21/24

South Carolina linebacker Debo Williams appeared on an episode of The Welcome Home Podcast on Sunday, June 9.

Williams discussed numerous topics on the podcast, including the story of his journey to the University of South Carolina and how he wants to leave a lasting impression on its football program. Here are some of the key points he mentioned in the interview.

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Question: Why did you choose to transfer to South Carolina?

Williams: “When I did get the opportunity to come to SC, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is what I’ve been waiting on.’ I was at the University of Delaware for three months. They canceled our season because of COVID. And my whole thing was, ‘Alright, I’m going to get enough film as I can, and then, I’m going to transfer out and get to a bigger school.’ I went through it in high school. I was at a public school, and I wasn’t getting the same love these private school kids were getting. And I didn’t want to go through that again. So I’m like, ‘Alright, I’m going to go to a bigger school so they can’t say that the people I’m playing aren’t good enough.”

What is your favorite moment as a South Carolina player?

“It would definitely be the back-to-back weeks (in 2022) that we beat Tennessee and Clemson. When they (USC students) came on that field against Tennessee, and I couldn’t even move because there were so many people on the field, it was insane. And then, we beat Clemson the next week, and we’re on their field, and I still can’t move again. I planted the flag on their field, and all the (Clemson) players were mad and everything. I didn’t care. It (was) definitely the best feeling in the world, for sure.”

What did you learn this past season as a leader on the team?

“We really got a ‘put the ball down’ mentality … Basically, that’s how it is in life. No matter how bad it gets, whatever happens, you got to keep going. You got to keep pushing every day. Whatever will happen, it was the ‘next play mentality,’ and just keep going forward. That was our biggest thing. And as the leaders, we got to set the tempo with that. We got to set the standard. We just carried that out. Spencer (Rattler), whatever was happening, anything bad, he just stayed positive and was ready to go next play.”

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Why is loyalty to South Carolina so important to you, given today’s college sports landscape?

“I’ll always lie with South Carolina because, like I said, I wanted to be at a Power 5 school (and) didn’t get the opportunity. (Shane) Beamer took a chance with me, didn’t have to, and he knows I’d run through a wall for him. I’d put everything on the line for him because he gave me the opportunity when no one else would. So, after this season, having a good season, it was never a doubt in my mind. I never thought about leaving South Carolina — it was either I was going to the NFL, God willingly, or I was going to stay in and continue my legacy at South Carolina.”

What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind with the Gamecocks?

“I look on the walls at our facility, and I’m up there now with All-Americans. So, it’s like Stephon Gilmore, Jadeveon Clowney, all those guys — I could bring my kids back here one day, and they’ll see me on the captains’ wall. It’s an honor to be up there with those guys. I looked up to those guys — and I still do. I’ve been saying that I want to be next to those guys, so just to see it come to fruition, it’s just an honor.”

What does the next chapter of your football career look like for you?

“The next level is a great opportunity, God willing. I’ve been trying to stay very level-headed and just focus on this season right now. Anything can happen. Football can be over for me just like that. In this sport, you never know what can happen, so literally every day, I’m just working trying to perfect my craft. I do pilates now. I’m trying to do the necessary stuff, to just be as best as I can. When the NFL calls, it’ll be time for that. But as of right now, I’m just trying to dominate for the University of South Carolina as much as I can.”

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