COLUMBUS — Kourt Williams wasn’t shy about his decision. He didn’t try to hide it.
In a way, he embraced it. Leaving Southern California was always in the cards.
“In recent years, I’ve let my parents know that I wanted to get away from home, I wanted to see new things, explore new things and open my horizons, get out of my comfort zone,” Williams told Lettermen Row back in November. “So, Ohio State is one the best football programs in the country, and I felt like it would be a good fit.
“When I get to Ohio State, it’s going to be a little adjustment at first. The little things, the weather, the time difference and stuff like that. But in terms of football, I mean, it’s nothing that I haven’t experienced already.”
Fast forward four months, and Williams is on campus, making his way through the opening weeks of winter workouts and building toward spring practice.
More than 2,000 miles from his home in Bellflower, California, Williams is making himself right at home with Ryan Day and the Ohio State program. The brotherhood that is the football program helps.
“I’m not really homesick,” Williams said. “I miss certain people, certain family, family members and all that. But I’m really comfortable here. Just the fact the older guys, especially, were able to open their arms so much toward me so early. When they say brotherhood, it really is a brotherhood.”
But his versatility and leadership make it that much easier to fit in with what the Buckeyes are doing defensively. Williams is a safety. And a linebacker. And a Bullet. He can do it all, and he did it all for St. John Bosco High School.
Now that Williams is in Columbus and already working out with Mickey Marotti, he’s starting to make an impression as a player who can fit into any position on the defense.
“It just opens your resume up, in terms of what you can do on the field,” he said. “Being so versatile just helps you in terms of things you can contribute on defense and get on the field as much as you can.”
The striking thing is: what Williams can potentially do on the field is secondary.
The coaching staff and players at Ohio State are excited for Williams to grow as a leader in the locker room. Day went as far to even make a prediction about Williams on signing day.
“I’ll be surprised if he’s not a captain when he’s here,” Day said. “I’ve said that to him and his parents a million times. They’re probably tired of hearing me say that. He’s a state champ in California, which is not easy to do. He comes from a great program, same program as Wyatt Davis, and the coaches at Bosco do an unbelievable job.”
Day might be right. He’s already pointing it out. So are Ohio State teammates. Fellow early enrollee Jaxon Smith-Njigba singled Williams out as a standout through just a few weeks.
Teammates are noticing. And Williams is already preparing for life as a leader of the Buckeyes.
“Yes sir, that’s my goal,” Williams said.
Leaving Southern California was the first step in that process. Now just weeks into his Ohio State career, the transformation into a versatile playmaker and leader for the Buckeyes is well underway.