When Ardmore lost defensive back Jeff Surrell to injury early in the season, Dee Williamson stepped into the starting lineup.


When Ardmore lost defensive back Jeff Surrell to injury early in the season, Dee Williamson stepped into the starting lineup.

Turns out Williamson, a senior, was already comfortable with taking on responsibility.

When the Tigers started preseason football, Williamson had to miss a few practices. Not because he didn’t want to be there, but because of a prior commitment to his country.

Williamson enlisted in the U.S. National Guard and spent nine weeks of the summer going through basic training at Fort Sill in Lawton from June 18 to Aug. 19. When he came back, the 18-year-old still sported a slight frame, but a bigger sense of priorities and duty.

And the rank of Private.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do and it was coming down to crunch time,” said Williamson, who enlisted on Jan. 6. “I wanted to make a grown up decision and the Army gives me a head start on life.”

One of Williamson’s major motivations for enlisting was his mother, saying he wanted to do something to make things easier on her. But helped himself, too, adding that the conditioning he did over the summer made it easier when he returned to football.

“It benefited both ways,” Williamson said of football helping his Army training and visa versa. “Being an athlete made it easier on the 2-mile runs, and the conditioning in the Army made it so much easier coming back to practice.”

Even though Williamson missed Summer Pride workouts, Ardmore defensive coordinator Josh Newby said that he wasn’t surprised that he stepped in and performed well at cornerback for the Tigers. What’s surprised him is the maturity Williamson’s displayed since his return from Lawton.

“Since he’s come in, he’s been so consistent,” said Newby, who’s endearingly started calling Williamson “Boot Camp” or “Private Williamson.” “He listens so well, looks you in the eye.”

After he graduates in May, Williamson will head to Fort Lee in Prince George County, Va,, to become a supply specialist.

“I haven’t been surprised because I know Dee was steady. Jeff got the start because Dee wasn’t in town at the time, but Dee’s been very dependable,” Newby said.

“But I asked Dee how it changed his life and he said he just sees things differently. He appreciates things.”

Erik K. Horne
221-6522