A basketball star from the Bluegrass has found a new home on the gridiron.
The Las Vegas Raiders announced Monday that they have signed Carson Williams to join the NFL as a tight end. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden made the move, even though Williams has not played football in about a decade.
Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 2016, Williams averaged 26.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game for Owen County High School, securing a scholarship to Northern Kentucky University. He made two trips to the NCAA Tournament with the Norse before taking his talents to Bowling Green. In two seasons at Western Kentucky he averaged 10.9 points and six rebounds per game while shooting 52.9% from the field.
Despite a collegiate career with more than 1,300 points, Williams realized basketball would not be in his future much longer. After seeing George Fant sign a $30 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks in 2020, reaching the pro ranks in football seemed much more obtainable for Williams. Fant was a star on the WKU basketball team that had only one year of collegiate football experience when his NFL aspirations turned into a reality. Williams recalled a conversation he had with Fant shortly after the former Topper inked the life-changing deal.
“He said, ‘You gonna do this football thing, or what?’ and that was really weird to me,” Williams told the Courier-Journal, “because that was something that at the time I had been thinking heavily about, wondering whether to pursue it or not, but I hadn’t told anyone about it.”
Williams spent some of the spring away from the basketball team to prepare for his pro day. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound athlete posted a 38-inch vertical and a 4.73 second 40-yard dash, making the Raiders believe Williams could be the next Antonio Gates.