Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- There was a familiar face in Nashville this week during joint practices between the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots. Joejuan Williams, who went to Father Ryan High School and played cornerback for the Vanderbilt Commodores, has quite the story.
Williams was selected 45th overall by the Patriots in the 2019 NFL Draft. He walked out on the stage in front of his hometown crowd and now a few months later, he’s battling against the team he grew up watching.
The 6’4, 208 pound cornerback was hard to miss, even with two teams on the practice field this week. On Thursday, he made a spectacular play during one-on-one drills, breaking up a pass from Marcus Mariota to wide receiver Corey Davis.
There is still a learning curve when going from college to the professional level, and Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick said Williams game is still growing.
“Joejuan has had a good camp but like every rookie he has a lot to learn. He’s learned a lot of different things technique wise, competition style of play, but he is from a good program in Vanderbilt. Coach (Derek) Mason does a very good job with their players and kids down here,” said Bill Belichick.
While Williams was not made available during practice this week, his former Commodore teammate and Titans safety, Darius Wiley spoke about the two reuniting.
“It’s a blessing to be able to reconnect with Joejuan, he’s like my little brother. We were roommates and played on the same sideline at Vanderbilt so it was an exciting time to be able to see him,” said Wiley.
Both Wiley and Williams are rookies, so they took a little time to talk on the sideline over the last couple of days.
Wiley added, “It’s our first time out here together. He asks me for some tips and what he can do better. And same for me, so just holding each other accountable.”
Another former Commodore on the Patriots roster is defensive lineman Adam Butler, he’s been with the team since 2017 and has a Super Bowl ring. Butler is a few years older than Willams but will serve as a great mentor.