Coach Flo on Miami Dolphins undrafted wide receiver Preston Williams, “He works hard, and it showed up tonight.”
Miami Dolphins wide Receiver Preston Williams didn’t take a normal path to stardom.
After exploding for four catches and 97 yards in the Dolphins preseason win over the visiting Atlanta Falcons, the undrafted rookie caught the eye of not just Dolphins fans, but the national media as well. His leaping one-handed catch for a 36-yard gain in the closing minutes of the first half is making highlight reels across the country.
And funny thing, it wasn’t a surprise to Williams.
“When we were warming up, I practiced it,” said Williams of his grab up the left sideline. “And the opportunity presented itself, so it happened the same way I practiced it.”
“When coach gave me the opportunity, I was just tried to make the most of it,” he continued. “I didn’t have any expectations really coming into this game."
Williams, a 6’-4” 210 pounder, was a star in high school, winning the long jump championship while earning all-state honors in football for two years. After playing two years at Tennessee, he transferred to Colorado State, sitting out the 2017 season. It was during that lull from football that trouble found Williams, as he was arrested and pled guilty for an altercation with his girlfriend. He then exploded onto the national scene in his 2018 season, finishing as one of the top receivers with 96 catches for 1345 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Foregoing his senior season, Williams declared for the 2019 NFL draft, but his pro day workouts were horrendous, leaving scouts disappointed. That, coupled with the character flags, were enough to leave him undrafted. After signing with Miami it didn’t take long for coaches to noticed this kid’s unbridled talent.
“I think he’s worked extremely hard really since he got here,” says head coach Brian Flores. “He’s big, he’s fast, he’s got good hands, he’s tough, and he’s really worked every day to get better. We tell him to block in the run game, he blocks in the run game; play more downhill on your end cuts, he does that. He works hard after practice, he works hard in meetings.
“And it showed up tonight.”
One thing that jumped out to many fans watching the game was the humbleness and hustle Williams showed after making plays, jumping up and immediately heading back to the line of scrimmage to get the next play call and line up quickly. That show of maturity will go a long way in dispelling character issues, as hard work endears players to the coaching staff quickly.
“I think this is a talented young receiver,” said Flores. “(Of course), there’s a lot of talented people in this league. To get to a number one status, he’s got a long way to go, but does he have that potential? I would say he does. And it’s up to him to do the things he has to do to reach that potential. We’ll help him.”
For now, Williams is content to just keep learning the pro game and focusing on getting better every day.
“I got a lot of great guys around me, a lot of vets,” said Williams. “I learn from a lot of them. I’m actually glad they’re here. It’s my first year, I can learn from everybody; everybody has a different past. I’m here taking from everybody, learning.
“When my number was called, I just wanted to answer.”
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball.
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