In just 10 days, Texas Tech will take the field in its season opener against SMU with a true freshman quarterback running the offense.
While fans may be nervous or holding their breath about this, Marlon Williams — who played special teams and linebacker as a true freshman in 2006 — doesn’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing.
“Being a freshman, you almost have a fearlessness,” Williams said. “You’re going to go for those big plays and have that spark that’s needed to help the team win.”
After seeing time in all 13 games his true freshman year, Williams went on to be a three-year starter for the Red Raiders from 2007 to 2009 and is one of the quicker linebackers fans have seen in Lubbock in recent years.
Over that three-year span, Williams never finished lower than third on the team in tackles and he was named All-Big 12 Conference honorable mention twice, while racking up 231 career tackles, 14 tackles for losses, 51/2 sacks, 12 pass deflections, an interception, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.
Of all the big plays he made for the Red Raiders in those four years, one stands out among the rest.
“I think my favorite game would have to be when we beat Texas, for sure,” Williams said. “My favorite play would be during that game. Right before halftime, I sacked Colt McCoy, right before they were about to score and it forced them to kick a field goal and they missed.”
The world knows how the rest of that 2008 game turned out.
Williams never got picked up by the NFL and was cut by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League after camp, but he didn’t fall off the face of the Earth just because his sports career was over.
Imagine getting dropped off at a house with six random people you’ve never met in your life while receiving a weekly allowance to experience the city of Portland for a few months.
That’s how it was for Williams earlier this year when he had the opportunity to star on MTV’s reality show, Real World: Portland.
“It was a dope experience, just being able to go somewhere that I wouldn’t normally be able to go,” Williams said. “It was stressful but exciting at the same time, getting to experience the nightlife, snowboarding, and wakeboarding. They don’t interfere with you, you just go do it and they just film it.”
Anyone could sign up and tell their story for a chance to be on the show, then seven contestants were selected whom MTV felt had the most interesting stories.
How many other people in the world were a three-year starter in Division I college football, have opened up on stage for artists like Snoop Dogg, Slim Thug, Z-Ro, Mike Jones, and the Yin Yang Twins and are less than one year away from graduating from an industrial engineering degree?
Probably not very many.
Aside from being a TV star, Williams has been rapping since the seventh grade and has been recording music seriously under the alias J-Dillinger since his playing days as a Red Raider.
“(The Real World) definitely helped my music out,” Williams said. “They actually featured three of my songs on the show. Ever since I’ve done the show, I’ve been gaining fans every day. I think it was something different because I don’t think MTV had featured a lot of real world music on the show.”
Fans “can jam out to some newness” by listening to J-Dillinger’s albums and mixtapes at wavysquad.com or following him on Twitter. He released his first album ‘Real World: True Story’ in July.
Williams’ role on The Real World also landed him a spot on MTV’s The Challenge: Rivals II reality game show this summer.
“I just got back from doing that,” Williams said. “Work wise I’m selling Advocare and I’m a personal trainer. I just started to get back into getting clients so I’m getting people solutions for weight training and gaining muscle.”
In a quick search on Twitter, J-Dillinger’s almost-19,000 followers comes in second only to Kliff Kingsbury among people currently living in Lubbock.
With television, music, the gym, engineering, and sales all currently working in Williams favor right now, it’s safe to think he’s at a crossroads of sorts. Who knows what he’s going to do next?
“I’m just taking everything as it comes right now,” Williams said. “I’m having a lot of doors open up. I’m trying my hand in everything that comes and just see whichever one sticks. That’s what I’ll do.”
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