Devonte Williams’ family gets together for Sunday dinners, and sometimes, while everyone is cooking, someone turns on the music. When his relatives begin dancing, Williams said of course he joins them.
“He can put his foot in the ground and go. ... He was so smooth.” Those assessments by Bullis School football coach Pat Cilento of the running back on the football field apparently don’t translate to the dance floor.
Devonte’s father, Isaac Williams, is eager to point out the divergence.
“For some strange reason, I just couldn’t dance,” Devonte said. “And he always said I have two left feet. He’s always teasing me with that.”
So, Devonte enrolled in a dance class at Bullis his freshman year. He got an A-minus, but his dad still gives him grief for his moves.
It’s the type of family support Williams says he cherishes, and he has an extended network to advise him during his football career.
The junior counts two of Isaac Williams’s former Springbrook teammates, Shawn Springs (who played for the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins and New England Patriots) and Omar Evans (who played in the Canadian Football League), as mentors. In fact, Devonte is so close to those two, he calls them uncles.
But his dad stands out as a role model.
After choosing Bullis over Our Lady of Good Counsel and Mount St. Joseph High School, Devonte wanted to join varsity immediately, because his dad never played junior varsity. Cilento considered it, but he put Devonte on junior varsity as a freshman.
Devonte remembers running for four or five touchdowns in his first game. Cilento recalls six touchdown runs of at least 60 yards. Either way, Devonte was on the sideline early in the second half and headed to varsity the next week after challenging himself to get promoted as quickly as possible.
“I love pressure,” Williams said. “Pressure is my favorite thing about the game. It’s funny, because I kind of go in the zone when I’m under pressure. It feels good.”
This season, Devonte — who holds scholarship offers from Temple University, Western Michigan and Buffalo and interest from Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Wake Forest — is earning high marks on the football field. Since missing Bullis’ first game, a 42-0 loss to St. John’s (D.C.), he’s helped his team win five straight games while averaging 37 points per game.
“Having him really puts a lot of people at ease out there on the field and on the coaching staff,” Cilento said.
Including the head coach?
“Uh, yeah,” Cilento said. “Yeah. You can give him the ball at any time, and he can take it to the house.