By STEVE CORNELIUS, CJ Sports Editor
Somerset High School senior Brayden McWilliams was a valuable athlete for the Briar Jumpers’ football squad.
Recently, McWilliams was awarded for his hard work on the prep gridiron with an athletic scholarship to play football at the University of Pikeville.
As a Briar Jumper, McWilliams took snaps as a quarterback, he lined up as a running back, he lined up as a receiver, he had two interceptions on defense and amassed 82 tackles.
“Brayden was the consummate team player, and that is what I really like about this young man,” Somerset football coach Robbie Lucas said. “He doesn’t have the size you would want to see as a football player, and I don’t mean that as an insult, but he gets every ounce of athletic ability he can get out of himself.”
“He played quarterback for us in the Danville game, he can line up at running back, he can line up at the receiver spot, he played some strong safety, and he played some corner,” Lucas added. “We are going to miss him next year just because of his versatility.”
McWilliams received little fanfare during his career at Somerset High School, but his play on the field was a huge part of the Briar Jumpers run of four straight regional titles.
“I did whatever the team needed me to do,” McWilliams stated. “I am not an ‘I’ player and I am always in everybody else’s shadows. I just tried to contribute in anyway I could.”
After being plagued with several injuries at the skilled positions this past fall, McWilliams was a valuable player to have on the Jumpers’ football squad. According to his head coach, McWilliams had a unique skill of finding the football anywhere on the field.
“Brayden had a knack for finding the ball, and he was one of the best I had ever seen do that in my lifetime,” lucas stated. “Also, he had some very big hits on special teams. He is just a great kid and we were very fortunate to have him on our team.”
Lucas also feels McWilliams versatility on the football field will serve him well at the next level of competition.
“Brayden’s versatility opens up a lot of doors for him at the college level,” Lucas explained. “When you are able to do all the things on the football field that Brayden is able to do, the opportunities and doors open up pretty quickly.
McWilliams feel in love with the University of Pikeville on his first visit to the eastern Kentucky college campus.
“At first Centre was my first choice, but once I visited Pikeville I seemed to fit in well,” McWilliams said. “I seemed to fit in with everyone on the UPike campus and it is a lot like Somerset. The UPike coaches made me feel wanted and that is what drove to choose this school.”
McWilliams looked back at his experience at Somerset High School.
“My experience at Somerset High School was great and I wouldn’t have wanted to be at any other shool in the United States but here,” McWilliams vaunted. “I started out at Oak Hill, but changing schools and coming to Somerset was the best thing for my life and got me where I am today.”