The arduous process of being admitted to a service academy isn't for everyone.
But there's absolutely no doubt it's for Joliet Catholic defensive back Jabril Williams, who recently announced his intention to continue his athletic and academic careers at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
"I knew when I got the offer it was going to be tough. And I think that's one of the things that attracted me to West Point, the overall difficulty in the process," Williams said. "I assume that is why they make the application so rigorous, to weed out people who aren't committed to the process. For me, it sort of had the adverse effect, because I kind of got stoked. I couldn't wait to fill everything out."
That application process wears on some candidates for West Point, but Williams has attacked each one of the obstacles with vigor and continues to consider them opportunities rather than drawbacks.
"When people tell about things that are really challenging, I get really excited for stuff like that because it gives me a chance to test myself," Williams said.
Williams also faces a five-year service commitment following his undergraduate studies, but instead of considering that a drawback, he considers it a feature.
"People always say you gotta do five years of service after your four years of undergraduate," Williams said. "But I always say, I get to do five years. I don't see the bad thing about it."
The service element is one that Williams felt drawn to. Several members of his family including his grandfather, who was an Air Force technician, have served in one of the branches of the military.
"In my family, if you get the chance to serve, you take that chance," Williams said. "It was for a bigger purpose than myself."
Williams anticipates figuring into the cornerback mix once he begins play at Army. He's played primarily safety recently for Joliet Catholic, but doesn't lack experience at corner. In fact, it's that very versatility that was a real drawing card to the Army coaching staff.
"They reached out to me initially about being a cornerback," Williams said. "I've been doing my safety thing for awhile, but they said they see me as how they would draw me up in the defense and they thought I would make an amazing corner. They like the way I make contact with receivers off the line, the way I can cover a slot, a No. 1 wide receiver and they like my versatility and the way I can play safety, nickel or corner. I'll play every position on the field, offense or defense, I just want to get on the field."
Williams had initially committed to Indiana State and while he was saddened about having to break the bond he had formed with the Sycamores staff, the call to serve was simply too strong.
"The Indiana State coaching staff was top of the line, they really care about their recruits and they treated them like family. They were mentors to me and I couldn't be more thankful for them," Williams said. "Decommitting from them was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do as a young man, but I think the main factor was the overall call to duty and the opportunity that I would have to go to West Point and to serve the five years after I graduate."