Northwest receiver poised for increased role -- Gazette.Net


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Brandon Williams is not normally a flashy guy.

The Northwest High School football player is quiet off the field and stays calm on it, unlike many who play his position of wide receiver.

That’s why when he did a small celebration at an Upper Montgomery County Passing League game this spring, it surprised coach Mike Neubeiser.

“When he scored a touchdown, he threw his fist up,” Neubeiser said. “That’s the most expression I’ve seen out of him since he’s been at Northwest.”

With 34 seniors gone from last year’s Northwest team, there are several positions open for competition, but Neubeiser doesn’t have to worry about finding a spot for Williams.

The rising junior was already in the Jaguars’ starting lineup last season, playing both wide receiver and linebacker, and Neubeiser expects Williams to take on an even bigger role in the fall.

The Jaguars lost five of their top six receivers from last season — Ryan Markush, Tyler Ambush, Byron Johnson, Josh McDonald and Connor Allen all graduated. Those five combined for 141 receptions and 1,979 yards of production.

Markush led the group with 55 catches for 827 yards and seven touchdowns, and Neubeiser sees Williams filling that role.

“He’s got some big shoes to fill,” Neubeiser said of Williams. “I expect him to step in and be the next guy like that.”

What really makes Williams dangerous is his height, an advantage in the red zone.

During Friday’s seven-on-seven tournament, which was hosted by the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, the 6-foot-3 Williams used his height on a 39-yard reception against Linganore, getting touched at the 1-yard-line.

On the next series, he reached the end zone on a touchdown pass from Mark Pierce, who threw it to Williams as he ran across the back of the end zone.

“He’s a big, strong body and he has hands like Megatron (Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson’s nickname),” said Joshua Gills, the Jaguars second-leading receiver last season with 45 receptions for 518 yards. “He can jump. I can say that. Whenever we’re down at the goal line, we always know we have him to throw it to.”

Williams left M&T Bank Stadium early on Wednesday for a weekend skills camp at Old Dominion University and was not immediately available for comment.

Williams’s size is also an asset for him at linebacker.

His length makes passing lanes hard to find for quarterbacks, and his quickness puts him the right spots to make stops.

“He’s probably one of the best cover linebackers I’ve ever coached, and I’ve coached kids who went to Penn State,” Neubeiser said. “Where some guys may not be able to deflect a pass, he’s got that extra reach to tip it or knock it away.”

At receiver, Williams had eight receptions for 119 yards as a sophomore. Neubeiser expects those numbers to improve with an increased role this season.

“He’s just come so far athletically,” Neubeiser said. “He’s just a real good kid.”

cstevens@gazette.net