Linfield Sophomore Running Back Aaron Williams is one of many Wildcats to come up North from the great state of California. AWill hails from the City of Aptos that is just East from the Santa Cruz area in Northern California. Like the players from Hawaii coming to the Pacific Northwest and McMinnville can seem like another planet when you're from a great distance from your hometown but the players soon find out that where they are coming to is in fact a home away from home.
Aaron had a fantastic Sophomore campaign in being named a 1st team All-Northwest conference running back and led the 'Cats with 852 rushing yards and 10 TDs. In fact, 3 out of the 4 Linfield RB's that saw significant time this past season hail from California (Simon Lamson - Gridley, Kevin Abbott - Morgan Hill). It just goes to show that players coming from a great distance can thrive and contribute to the great tradition that is Linfield football.
If you asked me as a freshman in high school where I wanted to go to college Linfield College in McMinnville Oregon would not have been on my list. I had never heard of Linfield or been to Oregon. I always envisioned myself staying in California and hadn’t known of Linfield until senior year when I was getting serious about making a decision of where to go to school and play football.
I heard about Linfield from my JV football coach at Aptos, Tom Vinson, who played as an offensive lineman at Linfield from 1980 to 84 when we won two of our national championships. He convinced me to send up my game film and get a hold of the coaches. Coach Vinson and I went up to Menlo for the 2007 game to see what the team was like and to meet the coach I was talking to about playing linebacker, Phil Rombach. The game wasn’t much of a contest. I was impressed with the team so I decided to take the next step and visit the campus and meet some people who were in the same situation as me and some people who had gone through it already and have been in the program for a few years. I came for my visit on a Friday and stayed the night with Jaymin Jackson. What sold me on coming to Linfield was that visit. I really liked the look and feel of the campus, but it mostly was the people that I met while I was here that made me want to come. The coaches and players made me feel welcomed and wanted. I specifically remember meeting and hanging out with Hendy (Ryan Henderson). I had the same sort of trip planned to visit Willamette the next day, but decided after my Linfield visit that I didn’t need to see Willamette and that I was gonna be a Cat.
My first year as a Cat was challenging. I found out quickly that I needed to learn how to manage my time with school and football. Football was tough enough on its own. It was difficult to adjust to the defense that we run. I played for a few games on special teams and as Jaymin’s back-up at linebacker, but I was missing playing offense and running the ball so midway through the season I switched to running back.
I fought for a chance to get some touches and got to run the ball towards the end of the season. The offseason was challenging for me mentally. I had to get surgery on my hip from an injury that I got mid football season. It was the first significant injury I’ve had. I missed spring football and workouts and was on crutches all of spring term. I wasn’t sure if I was going to come back from the injury and be able to do the same things I once could but tried to stay optimistic.
I learned a lot about myself from the injury. I rehabbed for the rest of the spring and throughout summer with hope to play this past season. The rehab went well and I’m glad that I was able to be a part of the awesome season we had.
#30 Aaron Williams
Class of 2012