Bron Diamond Williams missed playing in the Rams’ loss to Houston Baptist earlier this month thanks to an injury sustained the week before.

After weeks of rehab, however, Williams, a cornerback and kick returner, will be returning to action this Saturday when the team travels to Arizona to take on Ottawa University Arizona.

Athletes spend a lot of time around each other, their coaches and their trainers. Williams feels that the Rams are a family and, because of his hamstring injury, it’s been hard for him to be at practice but not able to really participate.

“These are my brothers out there,” said the senior liberal studies major.

Conquering this latest setback is an example of the adversities Williams has had to deal with since childhood. Growing up in Terrell in East Texas, Williams never had his own bed until his freshman year in college. He said many nights were spent sleeping on the house floor, being one of 17 children of John and Katy Mitchell.

“I learned to never give up,” said Williams “When you’re at your downfall your family is always behind you.”

Williams’ resolve was tested on Dec. 22, 2014. He was downstairs singing and laughing with his mother. She had asked him to move a car for his father. He told her he would return to them singing shortly.

“When I came back in, she was gone,” Williams said. “I was speechless. That was my best friend.”

Head coach Joe Prud’homme said that he believes in helping people who want to help themselves. Once he got to know Williams and realized that he would be a good fit for the program, “I was willing to help anyway possible.”

Williams’ mom’s death was a defining moment in his life. Before that, he was at Garden City Community College in Kansas on a track scholarship. After his mom died, he realized he wanted to be closer to his family in Texas. He has 38 nieces and nephews.

He left Kansas to enroll at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls; he lived with his uncle until the man got sick and Williams had nowhere to stay. Seeing that Texas Wesleyan was restarting its football program, he reached out to assistant coach Paul Duckworth, who put him in touch with Prud’homme.

Prud’homme said he told Williams what his expectations were for him. He has given other players opportunities to better themselves; some choose to talk the talk, while others walk the walk. Williams is one of the latter.

“Diamond Williams is really a second and third chance kid,” Prud’homme said. “He’s a living example that it is OK to have adversity in your life.”

Last year, Williams returned 15 kickoffs for 345 yards, averaging 38.3 yards per game, according to ramsports.net.

“He is missed on the field because he is a dynamic special teams player,” Prud’homme said. “He is a great returner; he knows how to make things out of nothing. That’s what Diamond brings.”

Prud’homme knows the kind of impact Williams can have on the football field.

“He is more of an example, type guy,” Prud’homme said. “He’s been through these things and he understands the struggles.”

Duckworth said Williams’ best attribute is his “explosiveness.”

“With last year under his belt, we hope this year will be even better,” Duckworth said. “But that’s completely on the player. We just put him out there and pray to God he can make a play.”

Diamond Williams rehabs at practice.
Photo by James H. McBride

Diamond Williams runs a drill to help him recover from his injury.
Photo by James H. McBride

Diamond Williams talks to assistant athletic trainer Dominique Brown.
Photo by James H. McBride