For Noah Keller, it was Marcellis Williamson bragging about his athleticism. For Julian Posey, it was seeing him dance. For Chris Garrett, it was staying up until dawn playing video games.
To those closest to Williamson, the Ohio defensive lineman who died Wednesday, the moments of his geniality, energy and humor stand out more than anything he ever accomplished on the football field.
“He could always put a smile on my face,” coach Frank Solich said. “When I’d come out to practice, he’d always come up with little sayings that would energize me, and I’m supposed to be the coach.”
Williamson, a former starting defensive tackle, quickly became a team favorite from the time he joined the Bobcats. From his intensity while training to his carefree attitude before practices, he was a dedicated teammate and loyal friend to those around him.
Fellow defensive lineman Jeff King discussed how Williamson helped him at nose tackle. Williamson’s quick smile pulled him in, but King acknowledged how serious he could be when it mattered.
“One thing I’ll always remember is his warm-up in the weight room,” King said. “The way he warmed up for the bench press was unlike anything that anyone had ever seen, even coach (Sonny) Sano. I couldn’t even demonstrate it for you.”
Garrett, who started at running back in 2009, befriended Williamson early in their careers. In Garrett’s last season, the pair used to play NBA 2k10 on Xbox 360 together, sometimes for five to six hours.
During one of the team’s return trips from an away game, they were playing the game until they arrived home at 3 a.m. Williamson told Garrett he owed him a rematch, and they ended up playing until 7 in the morning.
“I still have one of his Xbox controllers here,” Garrett said. “Something that minor seems so big now.”
Despite weighing 327 pounds, Williamson showed athleticism for his size. He used to brag to teammates about his “glory days” at fullback as a grade school player, providing a quick laugh to anyone near him.
When the team played Troy in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Williamson danced at a bowl ceremony, surprising Posey and others with his moves.
“Just to watch him do it, it was something special,” Posey said. “He could do it just like any small person could.”
The culmination of the stories shows someone who was more than a football player. Williamson will be remembered as an animated, amiable and eccentric friend that was taken too soon.
“Maybe God needed a nose tackle,” King said. “And he got a good one.”