Big Ten Media Days 2019: Raequan Williams and ‘Chasing the Dream’

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Big Ten Media Days 2019: Raequan Williams and ‘Chasing the Dream’

Photo: SIobhan Findlay/Impact

Photo: SIobhan Findlay/Impact

Photo: SIobhan Findlay/Impact

Photo: SIobhan Findlay/Impact

Joe Dandron, Sports Director

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CHICAGO – Raequan Williams is expected to be one of the best defensive linemen in the country this coming season. Despite a good season last year, the now senior returned after many expected him to leave for the professional ranks. 

Today, Williams was able to return to his hometown: Chicago, Illinois as an attendee with the Michigan State Spartans for Big Ten Media Days. This allowed him to speak in front of the hometown media and talk about his decision to come back for another year.

Legacy.

That’s a big part of him coming back.

“We wanna leave a legacy and we want a championship,” said Williams. “It means everything, we all wanna be the best to do it. And that’s something, you know…we definitely want to leave a legacy of a champion.”

That’s important to a player like Williams. The oldest child in his family and very much a gentle giant of an individual. 

Soft-spoken, except when crashing into the opposing team’s backfield, the dominant defensemen knew that returning for one last year was the right choice.

“I can’t wait to see the start of this year,” said Williams. 

Williams will be a big part of a projected-to-be dominant defense that features All-American candidates at all three levels of the defense. Fellow seniors Joe Bachie and Kenny Willekes help round out a front-seven that was one of the best rushing defenses among the Power Five conferences.

“We want to win,” said Williams about the defense’s expectations. “We definitely feel pressure to get better.”

The same defense returns Josh Butler and Josiah Scot, two defensive backs that round out what could be once again among the best in the NCAA.

That legacy – being one of the best to do it – is something that Williams appreciates. As a junior he cemented himself as a cornerstone of the D, getting 10.5 tackles for-loss and two sacks on the year.

And he wasn’t finished.

“Raequan is a tremendous young person. We had numerous guys have to make a decision whether they were going to come back or go out in the NFL Draft, and he was one of those guys,” said head coach Mark Dantonio during his initial press conference. “He made that decision to get his degree and sort of complete his circle in that area. He is a tremendous person, a very caring person, outstanding athlete.”

That’s high praise for the hometown kid, who was the star of the show as he returned home for this year’s conference.

“It’s definitely special. It’s a cool feeling, this is where I was raised and it’s pretty special — my mom is here,” said Williams. “It’s definitely a big moment.”

CHASE THE MOMENT

Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio busted out a new mantra for this season.

“Our focus this year, our mantra this year will be chase the moment, and it’s really about chasing dreams,” said Dantonio.


And it rubbed off on the players MSU brought along.

When asked about getting back from the Arizona State loss last season, MSU’s Williams said this:

“It makes you wanna chase the moment, shout out coach D!,” said Williams. “I like that. He didn’t say that to us! I like what he said though. Coach D is amazing.”

The mantra was a big talking point throughout the day and should be something that the Spartans continue to look to use as motivation for a bounce back season after faltering late in the year with losses to Nebraska on the road and Oregon in the Redbox Bowl, a far cry from the 10-3 record that they amassed in 2017.

MSU will open up the 2019 football season with Tulsa on Aug. 30 in East Lansing.

You can contact Joe Dandron by emailing dandronj@msu.edu and follow him on twitter at @JosephDandronMI