Williams brothers smother the opposition

Colin Becht and Colin Becht

Last Saturday at Minnesota, sophomore defensive end Quentin Williams got his first career start, joining senior linebacker and his brother Nate Williams.

While it was the first time both Williams brothers’ names appeared in the starting 11 at the collegiate level, for them, it was merely what they’ve been accustomed to. Ever since Quentin was seven and Nate was nine, the two have been playing football together, beginning in peewees, continuing into high school and now at Northwestern.

“He always had to move up in weight class, so he always played up with me,” Nate said.

Still, while Quentin has played in every game so far during his time at NU, there was still something special about being in for play number one. The moment was made even better by being able to share it with his brother.

“I really got excited for it,” Quentin said. “It’s always good to have (Nate’s) support out there.”

It was a big moment for Nate as well, who got to feel some brotherly pride.

“It was definitely nice to see his hard work and diligence pay off,” Nate said. “It was exciting to be out there with him.”

While Quentin remains listed as a second-stringer behind junior defensive end Kevin Watt, coach Pat Fitzgerald said he has been impressed enough by Quentin’s play in games and practices to regularly rotate him in and occasionally start him.

“He’s played pretty consistent,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s played effectively, and that’s put him in a position to be our starter.”

When Quentin committed to NU in 2008, he and Nate became the Wildcats’ first pair of brothers since Brian and Scott Musso in 1997.

“I pulled him a little bit to come here, of course,” Nate said. “It was really nice to have him come here.”

Keeping family together has extra significance to the Williamses after their mother, Evie, died in 2005.

“(Nate) was one of the reasons I came here obviously,” Quentin said. “I kind of put family first.”

Though Quentin is purely a defensive end for the Cats, his position of choice was not always so certain. While redshirting his freshman year, Quentin experimented with his brother’s position of linebacker. After getting hurt, he went back to defensive end, the position he played in high school.

“It’s natural for me,” Quentin said.

However, arguably his best position as a high school recruit came on the other side of the ball at tight end. ESPN/Scouts, Inc. ranked Quentin the 11th best tight end in the nation in his high school class.

In his senior year, Quentin led Central Catholic High School to a Pennsylvania AAAA state championship, catching 23 balls for 433 yards and six touchdowns that season.

“I always liked tight end,” Quentin said. “If (the Cats) ever did want me to do it, I’d do it.”

With Nate in his senior year, the brothers’ 14 years of playing football together will likely soon conclude.

“We’ve always been together. This year’s a different year because it might be the last one,” Quentin said. “We’ve only got so many more chances to be together on the field.”

Though Quentin is two years younger, he is the taller and bigger of the two, a trait he’s possessed since he was 12. Still, Nate insisted the size difference hasn’t impacted the foundation of a big brother-little brother relationship.

“I still beat him up,” Nate said.

Quentin not surprisingly reported a different story.

“He’s always kind of had the strength part on me,” Quentin said. “But I’ve always kind of had the size on him.”

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