Jaylen Williams is only 12 years old and has been playing the position for four years. After first starting to throw the ball with the Marietta Blue Eagles, he recently returned from the Football University “Top Gun” Camp held last weekend in Dublin, Ohio.
“He’s a student of the game,” said Ramon Sharpe, a defensive coach for the Sprayberry junior program and one of Williams’ first coaches. “He’s willing to learn new stuff and new formations. He takes it home with him and it doesn’t stay on the field.”
Williams was first invited to a Football University camp in Duluth, where he was required to go through both short- and long-pass drills, and coaches were so impressed with his accuracy that he was extended an invitation to Ohio.
There, Williams participated in 7-on-7 and 1-on-1 drills in front of more than 50 former NFL coaches and players. He was also required to study and read different types of defenses, according to his father, Paul Williams.
“There was not a lot of teaching. It was pretty much seeing which kid could do what in certain situations,” Paul Williams said. “His footwork and technique helped him. The workout showed he could make every throw count to his receiver.”
A skill that stood out right away was a strong arm. Paul Williams said his son can throw the ball between 30 to 40 yards standing up. Jaylen also has a knack for rolling out of the pocket to find a receiver and throwing on the run.
Shortly after he began playing, Jaylen Williams began working with a private instructor, Tony Ballard, an FBU coach who also runs the Hustle Inc. Quarterbacks Clinic in Roswell.
Ballard, who played quarterback at Florida A&M before getting into coaching, helped Williams with his stance, dropping back in the pocket, body mechanics and throwing the ball with more accuracy.
Williams works with Ballard three days a week during the summer and twice a week during the season.
“He’s gained leadership and confidence (under Ballard) and a better understanding that hard work pays off on the field,” Paul Williams said. “He’s been doing good.”
Currently, Jaylen Williams is 5-foot-2 and weighs 115 pounds, but a size-11 shoe is an indication that a growth spurt could be on the way, Paul Williams believes.