For Hueytown High School running back and Alabama commit Roydell Williams, family is his everything. It's what motivates him every day to be the best.
“My parents inspire me,” Williams said. “Seeing them go to work every day and sacrifice for me pushes me to go to the field house and go to the gym to work for myself and handle my business.”
Many highly touted recruits don't have the support group Williams has around him at all times.
The unfortunate stereotype for a lot of football recruits is that they come from broken homes, where the father is nowhere to be found, or neighborhoods overshadowed by violence and drugs.
That's not the case for the No. 1 running back in the state, according to 247Sports.
Williams’ parents, Roy and Monique, have instilled a culture of love and discipline that has helped keep their son on the straight and narrow.
“We have a family who really cares and supports one another and that helps a lot,” Williams’ mother said. “Our family is oriented around each other."
Williams recalls that his father is the one who signed him up and encouraged him to play youth football for Hueytown at the age of seven and since then he has never looked back.
“In peewee football, I was playing with some guys above my age group and I remember we won a state championship,” Williams said. “That is the moment where I began to fall in love with football. The men in my family support me a lot.”
According to head coach Greg Patterson, the Hueytown native is a quiet and humble star, whose humility speaks louder than any of his words ever could.
“Every day he has a smile on his face and he is happy to be here,” Patterson said. “His personality mentors people more than anything else he does. The thing I appreciate about Roydell the most is that his success has not gotten to his head. He does not live his life on social media and promote his own brand. He is a good teammate who goes to work and does his job.”
Anyone who walks into the Golden Gophers' locker room or field house would be hard pressed to find a day when Williams’ contagious charisma is not rubbing off on those around him.
“That is just who he is,” teammate and Navy commit Mike Hines said. “That is what makes him Roydell. He really does not have a lot of bad days. He brings people together.”
The Golden Gopher captain possess an enthusiasm about himself that is unknown to mankind and it is that positive energy that has helped him produce on the field in ways that has caught the eye of many prominent college programs, like Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and Florida State.
The 4-star tailback is coming off of a 2018 junior campaign that saw a Hueytown single-season rushing record of 2,757 rushing yards, 32 touchdowns, and multiple 400-yard games.
At the end of that masterful season, it was time for Williams to make his life-changing decision on where he would spend his future playing football and furthering his education. Growing up in the state of Alabama, it was hard for Williams not to notice the running backs that the Crimson Tide has developed and sent off into the professional ranks, including Mark Ingram Jr., Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacey and Derrick Henry.
In late November 2018, Williams posted on Twitter that he would be taking his talents to Tuscaloosa in the signing Class of 2020.
“I am looking forward to going there and working hard,” Williams said. “I was an Alabama fan growing up, so it has been a childhood dream come true.”
The opportunity to attend and play for Alabama is something Williams has worked for his entire life for, so when he received his scholarship offer his mom and dad could not help but to relish in their son’s diligence and dedication to his craft.
“When I saw the offer, I started to tear up.” Williams’ father said. “I could not believe it. This is any father’s hope for their son.”
The 2019 campaign opened up for the Golden Gophers and Williams on Thursday night with a 32-19 victory over the Homewood Patriots. Williams started his senior season in style with 148 rushing yards on 17 carries with a total of three touchdowns — two on the ground and one 44-yard receiving score.
Williams’ ability to take control of the game was on full display late in the fourth quarter when the Patriots scored a touchdown with four minutes remaining to cut the Golden Gopher lead to only 26-19. Two plays after that, he took a handoff 73 yards to the end zone to slam the door shut on the Patriots’ hopes of a dramatic comeback.
Thursday night was just the first game in a long line of others for the Golden Gophers tailback to showcase, this season, what he will bring to the table for the Crimson Tide next year.
The Hueytown native has drawn comparisons to former Alabama and now current Oakland Raiders running back, Josh Jacobs. Deceptive speed, insane vision, and quick lateral movements that allow them to change direction in the blink of an eye make these two so similar.
What makes Williams so dangerous on the field is his versatility. Patterson will continue to use the talented back in many different ways. He can play quarterback. He can line up in the slot and play receiver. He can even play defensive end and record a sack and force a fumble like he did on Thursday night.
Defenders have a hard time covering Williams because, in the words of his coach, “He will either run through you or run past you.” His balance of being a physical, hard-nosed back and the speed he has to get to the outside causes a nightmare for opponents.
After his demolition of the Patriots’ defense, Williams was quickly surrounded by those members of a family that have never left his side, down by the visitors’ locker room. Mom, dad, aunt, uncle, cousins, and grandmother were all there to show their respects after another jaw-dropping performance.
“This is what God has blessed our son to do,” Williams’ mother said. “Once he got to high school and we saw his abilities against the big boys, I knew this was for real. I can not believe he is my son.”
Hueytown is the reigning 6A, Region 4 champions and for them to repeat in 2019, they will need to ride Williams for the long haul.
“If you look at the history of the really talented guys in this sport who have had all the home life they needed to be successful, most of them have thrown it away,” Patterson said.
“Roydell is one of those kids who have had that good upbringing and he has made the most of it.”