WATCH: How playing at Alabama prepared Jets rookie Quinnen Williams for Big Apple spotlight
It’s safe to say that Quinnen Williams is enjoying his time in the New York metro area. The third overall pick from this year’s draft is always seen smiling in all of his interviews and when he is interacting with fans. The Birmingham, AL native brought his positive attitude and mindset with him to Florham Park.
If you’re a Jets fan, this is a great sign. What this shows is that Williams is having no issue adjusting to his new home. Considering the stakes that come with playing in New York, it’s great to see him embracing the spotlight rather than buckling under the pressure.
It’s not rare for an athlete in any sport to succumb to the pressure of playing in the biggest media market in the world. Such names include Neil O’Donnell, Carl Pavano, and the infamous Bobby Bonilla.
Of course, there are more factors than just the pressure of playing in the Big Apple, such as potential injuries, new coaches, etc. However, it’s still not uncommon to see players no longer be themselves when they come to New York.
Williams, on the other hand, seems to have not changed a bit. Going based on Williams' attitude alone, adjusting to the New York market has been no issue for him. He’s been all smiles at press conferences, very interactive with fans at camp, and has been an overall likable guy since arriving.
Perhaps the biggest thing that’s helped Williams adjust is the fact that he played for one of the biggest college football markets in the nation. As a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Williams played in the national spotlight many times, including two straight national championship games.
Most people wouldn’t think of Tuscaloosa as a big market, but thanks to the University of Alabama’s constant dominance in NCAA football, they get as much attention as some of the best teams in professional sports.
Perhaps it was these experiences that helped the 21-year-old Williams prepare for the type of attention that New York is going to throw at him. Playing for arguably the biggest college football program in the world might have shaped Williams into a confident young man who can handle what New York throws at him.
It wouldn’t be the first time this happened for the Jets. Joe Namath, their lone QB to lead them to a Super Bowl title, also played for Alabama. Anyone old enough to remember knows how much he loved playing on Broadway.
Now, this doesn’t automatically mean Williams is an instant success. He still has to prove his worth in the regular season. He needs to transition from Nick Saban’s system to Greg Williams' defense.
Those steps will come real soon, but for now, he’s already taken the first step in getting comfortable in the nation's media capital.