A shutdown cornerback ranks at the top of most football coaches' wish lists. Ed Brosky, head coach and owner of the local semipro Pittsburgh Colts, believes he has one in second-year player Jared Williams.
Williams, a 2006 Perry Traditional Academy graduate, was the definition of a shutdown corner last season, his first with the Colts. Williams did not allow a completion all year while playing mostly man-to-man coverage with no safety help over top.
This season through six games Williams has only allowed one reception and it was a questionable call. Williams and the receiver both jumped for the ball and came down with a hand on it; one referee called interception, one ruled touchdown. The call ended up as a touchdown.
"He is a shutdown corner," Brosky said. "We leave him on an island every game, no help over the top. He is just that effective. He played eight games with us last year and nobody caught a pass on him, that just tells you about him."
Williams is far from one-dimensional. He also helps in the run stop and on special teams.
"He is fast, he comes up and tackles," Brosky said.
Most teams do not kick off or punt deep to the Colts returners, but Williams is one of the weapons the Colts have returning kicks if the situation would arise.
"We have lethal return people," Brosky said. "We just haven't been able to run into anyone who wants to kick that deep."
The Colts are 5-1 and coming off a 40-0 win against a team from Buffalo last Saturday. Their next game is against the Oil Region Rampage at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at Chartiers Valley High School.
Williams was a team captain at Perry. While there, the Commodores won three consecutive City League titles from 2003-05. His senior year, he rushed 220 times for 1,497 yards and 22 touchdowns. On defense he had 43 tackles, 4 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries. Williams was named second-team Class AAA all-state by The Associated Press.
The Colts have a number of players from the City League on the roster including a strong contingent from Perry.
"All the guys we have gotten from there have been good," Brosky said. "I think it is not only the quality of coaching they got, but football is something they have a passion for and enjoy playing."
After Perry, Williams went to Temple University on a football scholarship. He redshirted as a freshman and played for one season at Temple before transferring to Duquesne University. He played two seasons at Duquesne, returning punts and starting as a defensive back. Williams, 25, now lives in the North Side.
Williams does not mind the responsibility and difficulty that comes with playing man-to-man pass coverage without safety help.
"It is a lot of responsibility," Williams said. "I just go into every game knowing that I have a job that I have to do and there are another 10 people depending on me."
Brosky has plans to take even more advantage of Williams' ability. He wants to use him on offense as a running back as the season progresses.
Williams' primary focus remains on a defense that is one of the best in the league.
"It is all effort on defense," Williams said. "We just go out there and we depend on each other; it is pride. We go out there and have fun and want to play football. Really, we don't think about the score, we just want to get stops and get the offense the ball."