Sophomore running back Javon Williams expected to shine for southern

By Janae Mosby, Staff Reporter

On Sept. 2, Saluki Athletics announced sophomore running back Javon Williams Jr. has been added to the Stats Perform Preseason All-American team.

“It’s an honor, but it is only a label. It is all how you take it and how you use it, I have been using it in a positive way and using that as a way of being a leader for the team,” Williams said.

Williams led all Division I freshman in 2019 with 19 touchdowns. He was Second Team All-American last year. 


Williams averaged 6.4 yards per carry and passed for 160 yards, tallying two touchdowns. He finished the season with 1,038 rushing yards and 1,359 all-purpose yards.

He started his SIU football career in 2018, he played in the first four games where he had a season high of 35 yards rushing on four carries during a game against Murray State.

“It’s great having him on the team. He’s a talented young man,” SIU running back coach Nathan Griffin said.

Williams was the first player in SIU history to run for a touchdown, pass for a touchdown and catch for a touchdown in the same game.

“When I was younger I played running back, then I went to quarterback. Being a quarterback in highschool you always learn how to get your hands better, so I just trained myself to get better at catching,” Williams said.

Griffin said Williams is a great athlete and is very versatile. 

“He brings a playmaker’s mentality, I mean he can make things happen. He’s a big, strong kid but he is also fast. Growing up he played every sport, he was a great basketball player in high school so he is an overall  phenomenal athlete,” Griffin said.


Williams said his favorite game at SIU was a game against South Dakota because he scored four touchdowns in the first half of the game.

Williams said he has learned a lot from the SIU football coaching staff. 

“Salukis have a standard we live by everyday, to be a good man, a trustworthy man. Coach Hill helps out a lot with teaching us that […]. Carbondale is a great program,” Williams said.    

Williams said Griffin has helped him learn how to trust the gap and trust that the block is going to open up the whole.

Griffin said Williams brings laughter to practice and has good energy to be around. 

“He comes with a big smile on his face, he gets along with everybody and he is full of energy each day. He’s fun to have on the team,” Griffin said.  

According to Griffin, Williams is also a mentor to the younger players on the team.

“He’s got a big heart and he cares for others, he makes sure everyone is doing good. He’ll help out as far as assignments and what to do,” Griffin said.

Williams started playing football in his hometown, Centralia, for a youth league.

“I played a season and a half with the Centralia Youth Football League. I didn’t play anymore until freshman year of high school and that’s when I went out for quarterback,” Williams said.

Williams said family members taught him how to play football.

“A lot of people in my family that would help me with different strengths on the football field. My Uncle Maurice taught me how to throw a spiral and my mom also taught me how to throw a football,” Williams said.

His father taught him several aspects of the running back position such as knowing how to use balance and footwork, Williams said.

Williams said his favorite memory from high school football is the first year his team made it to the second round of playoffs. 

“When we played, it was like everything went right and I ended up having a good game. A few players had some big yards for the game and we ended up winning,” Williams said. 

In high school, Williams ran for 2,395 yards, 30 touchdowns and passed for 1,967 yards and 22 touchdowns in his senior season. 

Williams’ decision to come to SIU was based around his family and his hometown.

“[SIU] is only an hour away from home, but I’ve always thought to play close to family. For all of them to have the opportunity to come watch me play,” Williams said.  

Williams is currently studying outdoor recreation and his goal for after college is to create inclusive programs for people with disabilities.

With everything going on right now, Williams said he is taking things one day at a time and he is sticking to the COVID-19 protocol everyday.

Staff reporter Janae Mosby can be reached at or on Twitter at @mosbyj.

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter