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Former Cox star Williams returns to state with transfer to Virginia Tech
Former Frank W. Cox High School and Clemson University football player Jordan Williams announced in January he would return to his native Virginia as a transfer to Virginia Tech. (Photo: Maddie Williams, Courtesy: Clemson University Athletics)

Former Cox star Williams returns to state with transfer to Virginia Tech

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (BVM) — People in Virginia Beach fondly remember the time when Jordan Williams was a high schooler playing football for Frank W. Cox High School. Then an outside linebacker, Williams was a bonafide star with the Falcons as he had 39 tackles, including 12.5 for loss and five sacks, two interceptions, seven passes broken up, one caused fumble and two fumble recoveries as a junior. That was only the beginning for Williams as his senior year he outdid himself with 50 tackles, including 17 for loss, three passes defended, two caused fumbles and three fumble recoveries and a fumble returned for a touchdown.

“He was always really athletic and a great kid,” Williams former Cox football coach Bill Stachelski said. “He was one of the few kids who went straight to varsity and he just grew from there. He really did transform over the four years. Got bigger, put time in the weight room. By the time he left us, he looked like a boy who turned into a man.”

His excellence led Williams to not only be tabbed as first team all-state at Virginia’s highest level of competition, but also to earn a spot to participate in the US Army All-American game. These accolades made him one of the most sought after prospects in the state as his consensus top-300 ranking in the Class of 2017 earned him approximately 30 Division I scholarship offers.

“Jordan was definitely a hard worker. He had the talent but knew he couldn’t rest on his talent alone,” Stachelski said. “It was busy. … He was in high demand and we had a busy winter and spring with coaches visiting. … He was definitely the most high profile recruit we had out of Cox High School.”

Though Virginia was his home and in his heart on decision day, with both the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech making it into his top four college choices, Williams would go a bit further south to the University of Clemson to join Dabo Swinney and the Tigers with his commitment on Aug. 6, 2016.

“We were excited for him,” Stachelski said. “Not many guys from Cox had ventured out to play at any of the major Power 5 programs so we were proud of him. We knew he could do it.”

During his time with the Tigers, Williams would contribute towards a national championship victory and three college football playoff appearances. (Photo: Maddie Williams, Courtesy: Clemson University Athletics)

Williams would go through a position change from outside linebacker to defensive tackle and redshirt his freshman season, but would contribute throughout his redshirt freshman year, playing in 10 games while making 11 total tackles, including three for a loss, 1.5 sacks and a forcing a fumble for the eventual national champions. As a redshirt sophomore, Williams would play in all 15 games for the Tigers contributing 22 total tackles, 5.5 for a loss, and 2.5 sacks. This past season, Williams would play in 11 of Clemson’s 12 games including earning his first career start in the opener against Wake Forest. During the season, Williams would have eight tackles including one for a loss.

“It’s been great to watch,” Stachelski said. “The staff and I are always talking about him and we’ll shoot him a text or get a text from him. Just to know he came from your program and found that success at the college level makes you feel proud and makes you want to do it more.”

While he had a number of successes with the Tigers over his first three years, Williams still had yearned to return home. After the team’s loss to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, Williams announced his decision to enter the transfer portal on Jan. 5. After he graduated from Clemson with a degree in communications in December, transferring would be easier for the rising senior.

Though a number of schools would try to woo Williams for his services, it was clear that his heart was still in his native Virginia. That’s why when he announced on Jan. 11 his commitment to Virginia Tech, it came as no surprise. As he put it himself, “VA I’m Coming Home.”

Now as he returns to his home state, Williams will look to not only improve individually, but also help the Hokies in the future. With two years of eligibility remaining thanks to the NCAA’s rule that grants all players in the 2020-21 season an extra year of eligibility, Williams will have an ample amount of time to show why he was a top 300 recruit.

“I didn’t know exactly what he was looking for, he didn’t really reveal a whole lot,” Stachelski said. “The one thing he did say is part of his plan and his ultimate goal is to get to the NFL. He thought that getting into that program would benefit him the most.”

Following a down 2020 campaign that saw the team finish with a 5-6 record, the Hokies will look to unleash Williams in an effort to improve their defense from a year ago, a unit that finished 103rd in total defense and 82nd in scoring defense.

Back where it all began, Williams will look to recapture some of the play that helped him leave the state in the first place. With fans from Frank Cox and the rest of the state cheering him on, Williams will have plenty of support as he begins his new journey at Virginia Tech.

“We’re looking forward to watching him for a couple more years and hopefully after that on Sundays,” Stachelski said. “We’re happy because now we can go see him and we don’t have to drive as far. Hopefully we will be watching him at some point soon.”

With luck, Williams’ return home will also lead to a return to form for the Hokies.