Each week we will feature a college football player who is either a member or an officer in a Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.
Name: Quentin Williams
College: Northwestern University
Height, weight, class, position: 6-6, 255 pounds, senior, defensive lineman
High School: Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
About Quentin Williams: A highly decorated tight end coming out of Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Williams has transformed himself into a versatile defensive lineman for the Wildcats. He started the final seven games of his junior season and has started every game this season at DE for Northwestern. His brother, Nate, was an NU linebacker from 2007-10. Williams, a fifth-year senior, is part of the Uplifting Athletes leadership team for the Northwestern Chapter.
As a player, what is your favorite part of game day you get to experience at your home stadium?
Williams: I absolutely love “Walk With Us,” a tradition that Northwestern has involving anyone who wants to fill the crowd while we walk from our bus to the locker room before the game. When I step off the bus, the first thing I get to see is a huge group of passionate fans and family members of our players. Followed by that is our cheerleading squad and our band. The band is absolutely the best, as they create two long lines of instruments that we walk directly through – hearing every single instrument group independently as we walk by. We walk between these two lines of NU marching band members and the best part is the end, where we pass by the loud brass horns and the drum line. It absolutely wakes you up and gets you ready for Big Ten Football.
What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?
Williams: My most memorable experience would have to be playing alongside my big brother, Nate, for two years while he was our middle linebacker. I came to Northwestern for a plethora of reasons, but being with my brother on a Division-1 football field for the Wildcats was the most rewarding thus far.
What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes, and what if anything has this experience done for you?
Williams: When I first heard about Uplifting Athletes, I immediately was interested. Al Netter sent out an email to the team letting us know that Scott Shirley would be coming by to talk about starting a chapter here at NU. I jumped at the opportunity, only to show up at the first ever meeting a few minutes late. I joined the cause because I have always believed in giving back. I just wanted to be a part of something philanthropic and groundbreaking. I love the idea of starting from scratch and growing an idea or concept into a bigger, better thing. My involvement grew the following year and I became the CMO for UA at Northwestern. I’ve learned a great deal about learning how to delegate responsibilities meaningfully and trustfully. I’ve learned, most of all, that most things cannot be done alone and your associates are your biggest asset. I’ve learned how to market and manage a business.
Facebook, Twitter or neither and why?
Williams: I am not a big social media user myself. I use Twitter occasionally to follow influential people’s thoughts, but spend more time on Facebook. As the marketing director, I’ve found out how much I really don’t enjoy being at the heart of a social media platform. I would much rather be involved in person-to-person interactions without the computer or iPhone getting in the way.
What is the toughest team you’ve faced or regularly play and what makes them so difficult?
Williams: Every Big Ten opponent is difficult. And that is what I came to Northwestern – to play against the best. I cannot put a stamp on any one program, but would have to say that my favorite team to play would either be Penn State or Iowa.
What is your chosen major, and what if anything have you used from that major as a contribution to your Uplifting Athletes Chapter?
Williams: I was a political science major and business institutions minor during undergrad. I am currently a grad student in the sports administration program at NU. I think I have been able to apply many of the marketing lessons I learned in my two marketing classes, both taught here by Joan Zielinsky. I’ve always been interested in start-ups and would say that a lot more of my useful lessons came from my experiences at my two internships at start-up companies: FanFueled and Position-Tech.
Besides one of your teammates, name a college football player you enjoy watching?
Williams: I was a high school teammate of Andrew Taglianetti of the University of Pittsburgh. He’s a safety for them and I’ve always been a huge fan of his play. He uses great effort and makes great plays in the kicking game especially. Shout out to ‘Tags.
Who is your favorite NFL player and why?
Williams: I like watching Clay Matthews purely because of his tenacity and his unique position. He uses his hands extremely well and if I make it to the next level I’d be blessed to play like him at his position.
What was or is the inspiration for the Rare Disease your Uplifting Athletes Chapter is raising money for to be part of the fight?
Williams: Ara Parseghian coached here at Northwestern before leaving for Notre Dame. He spoke to us as an honorary captain a couple of years ago and became a motivating factor in deciding what rare disease to help fight. His family is severely affected by niemann-pick type C and he has his own foundation. It was only fitting to choose Coach Parseghian’s family and foundation to support.
What is your favorite road stadium to play in and why?
Penn State, since I get to see a lot of my family and friends when playing there.