by Gary Ahuja
Malcolm Williams is a happy guy.
Spending a few minutes with him before practice, he has an ever present cheek-to-cheek grin.
“He has fun every day,” said Langley Rams coach Jeff Alamolhoda.
“You never see Malcolm without a smile on his face.”
About the only people not smiling when it comes to Williams are the opposing defensive backs who have to line up against the six-foot-three wide receiver during the B.C. Junior Football Conference season.
Since getting into the Rams line-up in Week 2, Williams has been sensational, catching seven touchdown passes and racking up nearly 300 yards receiving.
Not surprisingly, Langley is off to a 3-0-1 start to the season after Saturday’s 34-3 win over the Okanagan Sun.
“I don’t know [the secret],” Williams said with a laugh.
“Everybody is asking me lately and I don’t know what to give them as an answer.
“Just running hard and trying to make every play I can for my team.”
The 19-year-old from Maple Ridge ended up with the Rams after taking last year off football.
Recruited out of Pitt Meadows secondary, where he excelled in both football and basketball, he chose to play the latter with the UBC Thunderbirds.
It marked the first time since he was seven years old that he was not on the football field.
“Not playing was tough,” he admitted about being away from the gridiron, although he watched as much UBC football as he could.
“It was hard, but I had my hands full with basketball.”
As a guard on the Thunderbirds team, Williams averaged 7.7 points and 2.3 rebounds in just over 20 minutes per game.
However, struggles in the classroom took their toll.
“The school part didn’t go so great for me,” he said, adding that he is attending classes at Langara College to upgrade some of his marks.
With no basketball team to play for, Williams returned to the sport he calls his “first love.”
He arrived at tryouts for the Rams with little fanfare.
“He contacted us,” Alamolhoda said.
“[Malcolm] has taken his opportunity and ran with it. He came into our program as a non-starter and worked his way into the starting line-up.
“And for someone as talented as he is, you would think he would have an attitude or something that he wasn’t starting right away.”
“But he just worked real hard, earned his spot, his starting role, and when he got on the field for the first time, he wouldn’t let us take him off.”
Williams is tied for the league lead with seven touchdowns and leads in points with 44 – courtesy of a two-point convert attempt he caught in week two.
He is tied for second in receptions with 16 and third in yards with 298.
What makes Williams tough to defend is the combination of his size and athleticism.
“I like the fact I am a little taller than most DBs; I like to use my height to may advantage,” Williams said. “Try to use some of my rebounding skills from basketball against some of the smaller DBs.”
Alamolhoda said Williams presents a ‘catching radius’ and the quarterback can throw the ball to where only his receiver can make the play.
“His body control is outstanding; he knows how to use his body in space and with other people around him,” said Alamolhoda.
“Obviously our quarterback likes the way he has an outlet like that.”