Posted: Aug 7, 2013 5:18 PM by Andrew Masuda
Updated: Aug 7, 2013 11:05 PM
There's a hint of gold with the Silver and Black this summer. Former Cal Poly slotback Deonte Williams in the middle of training camp with the Oakland Raiders in Napa. He's still sporting the gold grill on his front teeth and living the dream with his favorite childhood team.
This marks the first time in 10 years a former Mustang running back is in a NFL training camp. Williams, a 2012 All-American, is a rookie with the Raiders. "It's definitely faster you know what I mean. But it's still football you know. I like to be out here competing with the guys and it's physical so that's something I love about the game. I'm just out here trying to work hard man and do what I need to do," said Williams.
Deonte never shied away from contact last season with the Mustangs. He rushed for 1,506 yards and 12 touchdowns his senior year for Cal Poly. He helped the Mustangs to a share of the Big Sky Conference title and a second round berth in the playoffs.
Williams is one of six running backs in camp with Oakland. One of the others is starting back Darren McFadden.
"It's been great because honestly he was the running back I idolized in college and even in high school just watching. I like what he brings to the table so I like to take little details from his running-style and apply them to mine. But it's been great learning from him," said Williams of McFadden, who rushed for 707 yards on 216 carries in 2012.
Former teammates are also learning from what Deonte is doing these days. Cal Poly seniors say Deonte proves the NFL is reachable for them.
"It's doable 100 percent. Even these days more guys come out of the 1-AA programs and Division II and Division III. And they're looking for us. So we're getting on the map and guys like Deonte are putting us on the map," said Cal Poly senior defensive tackle Sullivan Grosz, a preseason All-Big Sky Conference First Team pick.
Earning a spot on the Raiders' final roster is driving Williams these days. NFL teams have until the end of the month to trim their rosters from 90 to 53 players.
"This is something I've been waiting on my whole life just this opportunity so I'm trying to make the most of it and not leave nothing behind me. So everyday I strap up I just try to make sure I do something great and let people know I'm trying to earn a spot," said Williams.
The Raiders play their first preseason game Friday at 7 pm against the Dallas Cowboys. Morro Bay High graduate Jerome Long, a second year defensive tackle, is in camp with the Cowboys this summer.
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