With the College World Series nearing an end, it is only fitting that the Ragin’ Cajuns have announced that they will add a member of the university’s baseball team to their roster for the 2017 season. Jam Williams, a junior outfielder out of Farmerville, Louisiana, stands at 6’3” and will be playing defensive back for the Ragin’ Cajuns in the fall.
The Ragin’ Cajuns have had a few dual-sport athletes in recent seasons, so Williams is in good company. The most notable of these athletes is Elijah McGuire who played football and basketball, but he also joins Jeryl Brazil, Christian Umphries, and Angus Sinclair who have competed on the track and field team as well as being members of the football team.
Williams is no stranger to the football field, Mark Hudspeth has said that he was recruited for the football team out of high school as well as baseball. In Hudspeth’s own words: “we had recruited Jam out of high school and had always thought he was an extraordinary athlete.” Defensive backs are often called the “center fielder” of the defense, so spending some time developing vision and ball-tracking ability on the baseball field may prove to be extremely beneficial to Williams and the team.
With the proliferation of year-round sports and practices it has become increasingly common for young athletes to find their preferred sport and try nothing else. For the rare few that are dominant from a young age, this is beneficial. However, for a majority of athletes it can be argued that this is actually detrimental to the development of skills. Quite often a player has some aspect of their game that they simply cannot fix through routine and repetitions within the confines of their particular sport, and its remedy may be unlocked by trying a new method or even a new sport.
Jam Williams represents the narrative of a young athlete taking advantage of the opportunity presented to him in another sport rather than simply staying within his comfort zone. The Ragin’ Cajuns look to use his size and athleticism to benefit their defense for the next couple of years.