Classes officially started last week at the University of Kentucky, and like every other student on campus, I slowly made my way through each class on my schedule for syllabus week.
In one instance later in the week, I was trekking my way into the brand new UK Student Center when an individual walked past me that caught me off guard. There are thousands of students walking through campus each day, and I only had time to take a quick glance, but I could’ve sworn I had seen him before. Did I have a past class with him? Same high school? Played sports together growing up?
I brushed it off and didn’t think anything of it until this morning. Making that same journey into the Student Center, I walked down a flight of stairs into the dining area, and that same individual from the week before was walking my direction. This time, though, I got a closer look at him and still couldn’t figure it out. He was 6-feet tall or so, wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants, longer hair, etc. But the face was so freaking familiar.
Sitting down for a Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit, I was making my typical morning rounds on social media. Then I came across the following post on Twitter from University of Kentucky assistant athletic director Tony Neely:
— Tony Neely (@tneel) January 14, 2019
Bookbag on and pencil in hand, the individual I had seen twice absolutely was former Kentucky star linebacker and current New York Jet Avery Williamson.
Williamson, who finished with a career-high 121 tackles (41 solo), three sacks, six tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles in 2018, is back in Lexington this semester to finish his degree at UK.
After being drafted in the fifth round by the Tennessee Titans in 2014, Williamson played the first season of a three-year, $22 million deal with the Jets he signed last offseason.
At Kentucky, Williamson played from 2010-2013, racking up 296 total tackles, four sacks, ten tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions.
Congratulations to the former Wildcat great on coming back to earn his degree!