By Skyler Trepel
Chase Williams has played a few different positions during his USC career, but he's been a mainstay at safety this spring, running with the first team since the opening practice.
How has he been able to juggle playing multiple roles on his way to this point?
“Well I would say growing up I was big on just trying to play everywhere that I could,” Williams said.
Williams wasn’t always on the path to being a safety as he was honored as a 2017 All-American Prep Star for succeeding as both a wide receiver and cornerback. And even those positions were pretty far away from where his football career began.
“When I first started playing football I was actually playing tight end and D-end so there were a lot of things that I had to go through to get to that point, but I just wanted to be on the field and I found that those were my two loves,” Williams said.
Williams wasn’t even big into sports as a kid until the friends he hung out with began to play football. This became part of hanging out with his friends before he discovered his own passion for football while watching on TV.
“After that once I just started playing and I really started figuring out what it was about… the teamwork, the people that I met along the process," Williams said. "It was just something that I really love, so that was really what brought me into it."
Williams’ favorite player growing up and the player he looked up to was Chargers legend LaDainian Tomlinson.
“I used to wear 22 when I was younger because I wanted to be like the next one after him,” Williams said.
It’s this ambition that led to Williams playing with the starters as a safety during this iteration of Spring Ball. Williams has been constantly working and grinding to prepare for this moment.
“It’s just been a lot of hard work and patience… this is my first time really being up in that position…so it’s just been a lot of training that I’ve been doing in the offseason… a lot of studying,” Williams said.
Being a field general is the kind of player Williams wants to be, and he maintains humility as he makes sure to give his teammates their dues along his personal journey.
“It’s just working with my teammates… staying together. We’re bettering each other every single day and we constantly talk football,” Williams said. “So being able to kind of bounce back and forth between guys that [have a] similar mindset as me helps push me forward and then helps me out on the field as well.”
Williams said that this spring, the defense has come together as one unit. He feels as though the entire defense oozes leadership all over, which leads to a strong, cohesive output.
“I think the defense really just came together and set it straight in the beginning that we got to do this as a unit… regardless of what happens we got to stick together,”he said.
Communication and constantly talking on the field has been key to this defense coming together.
“We know the standard to play at in order to get you know to where we want to be and we know it takes a lot out of us so we’re on the same page just in terms of getting to that,” Williams said.
Williams knows that there’s a high standard of physicality set within this defense, especially playing safety. “Run and hit” has become the motto of this defense, especially under defensive coordinator Todd Orlando. It’s a reflection of the defense’s passion and physical nature.
“It just became a culture," he said. "Everybody knows that as soon as we get on the field it’s just run and hit. No matter what happens that’s the number one thing we gotta do."
Williams got his first career start against Notre Dame in 2018. This year things will come full circle as he once again faces Notre Dame. However, Williams is someone who manages to keep a level-head no matter how great the challenge is.
“I wouldn’t necessarily take them as any more or any less than any other team that we play," he said. "I love the completion and I love the tradition that the rivalry has, but I wouldn’t necessarily compare it anyways between 2018 and now. I think it’s still the same mission and the same goal."
Williams isn’t only versatile on the football field as he is also majoring in business administration at USC. He is interested in learning about real estate and also exploring something he is even more passionate about.
“I think my general passion right now is fashion, so hopefully [I’ll be] getting into clothing and the designer world and things like that. That’s my biggest thing that I think I would want to work on and work towards. The business school, they’re helping me set that forward,” Williams said.
They say that if you learn multiple languages, it will make you better able to learn other languages than if you knew just one. If that holds true, Williams’s versatility should make him unstoppable in nearly every facet of life and football.