3DownNation top 100 CFL players: No. 88 LB Avery Williams, Ottawa Redblacks

How can you sum up linebacker Avery Williams’ football career at every level in a single word? Productive.

Be it high school, college or in the pros, wherever the Baltimore native has plied his trade, production has followed.

As a high school student, the second Redblack on 3DownNation’s Top 100 list showed off his versatility as a two-way player. Williams spent time playing running back, receiver, linebacker and defensive back for Archbishop Curley.

Given his vast skill set, it was no surprise to see Williams continue to play at the NCAA level. During his time at Temple University, Williams not only settled in as a defensive game changer — he notched 154 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception — but he also found time to chip in on special teams, returning five kicks for 80 yards.

By graduation, Williams had played 47 career college games, including two conference championships — losing in 2015 before winning in 2016.

After earning All-American Athletic Conference honours in his senior year, Williams caught on with the Houston Texans, signing with them as an undrafted NFL free agent in May 2017. He participated in all off-season activities and training camp before being waived in early September that same year.

The five-foot-nine, 220-pounder signed with the Ottawa Redblacks in January 2018 and quickly became a mainstay on defence and special teams. The 26-year old can play both weak-side and middle linebacker, thanks to his high football IQ and strong pass coverage skills.

Over the course of 28 games in Ottawa, Williams has made 112 tackles, seven special teams tackles, two sacks, forced three fumbles and scored a defensive touchdown.

Despite being slowed by injury in 2019 and only playing in eleven games, Williams still earned nominations as Ottawa’s Most Outstanding Player and Most Outstanding Defensive Player.

Re-signed by general manager Marcel Desjardins to a one-year deal in early January, Williams was set to be a key piece of Mike Benevides’ defence. With a solid blend of experience, speed and versatility, Williams figures to be someone for whom opposing offences will need to account whenever the CFL returns.

3DownNation is unveiling its list of the top 100 active CFL players. To read the criteria for player eligibility, click here. The list to date can be found below.

89. LB Jovan Santos-Knox, Free Agent
90. DB Richard Leonard, Calgary Stampeders
91. REC Armanti Edwards, Edmonton Football Team
92. RB C.J. Gable, Free Agent
93. DT Mike Rose, Calgary Stampeders
94. REC S.J. Green, Free Agent
95. DB Mike Edem, Saskatchewan Roughriders
96. DL John Bowman, Montreal Alouettes
97. DB Taylor Loffler, Montreal Alouettes
98. QB Nick Arbuckle, Ottawa Redblacks
99. ST Mike Miller, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
100. DE Chris Casher, B.C. Lions

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Santino Filoso is originally from Ottawa and has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know).