Jordan and Ja’lon Williams always have played well together.
But this month, Spring Valley’s twin defensive stars will not play together in each other’s final high school football games.
Ja’lon is at Myrtle Beach this week, preparing for the North vs. South Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl. After his big all-star turn on Saturday, Ja’lon will be in the stands in Spartanburg on Dec. 20 as Jordan finishes his career in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.
“I can’t describe the feeling, of being able to look across the field and see my brother playing, and knowing that most of our tackles we made together, that’s an incredible feeling,” said Ja’lon Williams, the elder by six months.
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Jordan Williams said, “Not seeing him for these two weeks is definitely weird. But even though I’m not going to be in the game with him, I’m going to be there for him. And he’s going to be there for me next weekend.”
Coach Jerry Brown said he was privileged to have the pair on his team in his first season with the program.
“They were a good surprise for me, when I got here, because they are kin to Willie Williams, who I coached when I was here the first time,” Brown said. Besides the nostalgia factor, Brown said, “They’re both great kids, really respectful, good students of the game, and I felt like they are both Division 1 guys.”
“It’s rare, from the same family, to have two kids of that talent level, on the same field, the same defense, at the same time,” he said.
What is rare for others has been the norm for the Williamses for several years.
Jordan started playing football when he was young, back when Ja’lon was primarily a basketball fan. But Ja’lon got interested in football while attending middle school at W.A. Perry. Jordan taught his older brother everything he knew about the game, and Ja’lon moved in with their father so that they could play together in high school.
“I knew that if we were at different schools, my dad would only be able to see one of us play, so I figured I’d make it easier,” he said.
It was one of the best decisions he has made.
Both brothers have flourished in the Vikings program.
“They have a very similar skill set, and during games they are both very emotional, although Jordan is the more vocal player, generally,” defensive coordinator Mike Harrell said. He said the brothers have matching work ethic and athleticism that he knew would make both key contributors for the Vikings.
They began to differentiate themselves as juniors, when Ja’lon, listed at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, was moved to defensive end, while Jordan (6-2, 190) played at outside linebacker opposite Christian Miller.
There, Brown said, Ja’lon set himself apart this season with his uncommon speed. He finished this season with 98 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, six caused fumbles and 10 QB hurries. Jordan posted 116 tackles, 16 for losses, 11 sacks and three caused fumbles from his linebacker position.
“They both could have played in the Shrine Bowl, and they both wanted to. But Ja’lon was very congratulatory and very happy for Jordan when he was selected for the Shrine Bowl team, and Jordan was so excited for Ja’lon when he made the North-South game a couple weeks later,” Harrell said. “The best thing about it is they’re both very positive. They really pull for each other.”
Jordan said, “I am so proud of my brother, and I know he’s proud of me.”
“I know this is a big honor, and it’s not just about me,” Ja’lon said. “And I know I couldn’t do this without my teammates or without my brother.”
He might not have to for long. Both brothers have offers from Georgia Southern, and the idea of playing together again is more than tantalizing.
“It’s exciting to think that we could be playing together for three or five more years,” Ja’lon Williams said.