January 30, 2013 - By Katelyn Winkler
Review Staff Writer
Wrapping up his final months in high school, senior Derrick Williams will soon make the transition from being a Lake Orion Dragon to an Eastern Michigan University Eagle for the upcoming four years.
Williams and several other Lake Orion seniors are expected to sign letters of intent next week to attend various colleges around the country.
After playing football since middle school, hanging up his helmet for good after his high school career was not an option.
"I tried out in seventh grade because all of my friends were, and when I moved to Lake Orion, I heard the team was good so I wanted to be a part of it," Williams said.
Once college representatives from multiple schools, including EMU and Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU), started making visits to the high school and scouting Williams under the Friday night lights, he began to decide what his future plans were.
"I always knew I wanted to play football in college," Williams said. "I first found out about the scholarships during my junior year when I was going to camps and started seeing them at school."
Committing to EMU was a decision Williams had been thinking about even before colleges began offering scholarships, but in the end, the difference between EMU and SVSU was one school was offering to give Williams a full scholarship.
"My scholarship was offered to me because of football, but Eastern is paying for me to play football, stay on campus, and for my schooling. All I have to do is keep up my grades, continue to work out, play football and be a part of the team," Williams said. "[SVSU] is a division two school so I wouldn't have gotten a full-ride if I went there. Plus I really liked the coaches and players when I went up to visit (EMU)."
After visiting his future university, he knew that this was the right fit for him; not only because of football, but because of the future he plans to live.
"I'm probably going to go into criminal justice," Williams said. "I can travel the world and not just be in Michigan my whole life."
Before entering the EMU campus this fall, Williams has set goals for himself to fulfill by the time he graduates with a degree in criminal justice.
"If I get the chance, I would love to go pro, but if I don't, I just want to do something with the police force and be a cop," Williams said. "I want to do good in college so I can get my mom out of Pontiac so she doesn't have to live here anymore."
With his mother's name tattooed across his chest, the son of Wanda Wolber thanks her for the pressure she put him under throughout his years growing up.
"My mom always pushes me to get me on the right track and stay on top of my grades," Williams said.
With only half of his senior year left, he looks forward to a "fresh start" as a freshman Eagles linebacker, but according to Williams, he will never forget his years being on the field in Lake Orion, having a good time with friends, and playing against Clarkston every year.