LaMone Williams let out a yell as he was stretched out on a trainer’s table on the sideline of Bend’s Summit High School.
It wasn’t the pain of the injury to his anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee.
It was Williams’ realization that the fall camp practice session was the last time he was going to be able to get on a football field for Oregon State in the 2016 season.
“That was just pure hard work going out the window,” Williams said of his reaction that day. “As soon as I went down I knew all of that just went out the window and I was going to be out. So that was just based off frustration and just all the hard work and dedication just going to waste.”
Williams missed the season and all but five games in 2017. He was able to get back for all 12 games last season and started twice on the defensive line.
Williams figured his football career was over. He graduated with a degree in human development and family sciences and was planning on finding a place in the workforce.
Oregon State and Williams did petition the NCAA for an extra year, but neither party heard anything for quite some time.
“Actually, it was not until December when I was sure to get the year back,” Williams said. “So the whole last season I was playing like it was my last year.
“At first, the OSU paperwork was based off of school. The schooling got situated and then I had to get situated with the NCAA. The NCAA had to clear that for me and I got that (clearance) and now I’m back on the field.”
Williams said his knee is healed and he’s ready to go for one more season.
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He had never gone through a major injury or surgery, so the entire experience was new.
He was able to grind through his rehabilitation with help.
“The whole process is thanks to the staff here, the training staff, being on top of everything and helping me through rehab and recovery from that injury,” he said. “It’s been almost two and a half years now and right now I’m feeling good, the leg’s feeling good, the knee is feeling good, so I would say I’m 100 percent right now and just being able to move around on the field right now.”
At 6-foot-3, 287 pounds, Williams adds versatility and depth to the defensive line.
He will take on a leadership role with the group as well.
“Right now, since I’m one of the older guys, more responsibility is on my shoulders now as opposed to years before when I played with a bunch of older guys,” Williams said. “So this year is just basically getting us as a unit, the D-line unit all together and being on the same page as we go on the field and try to win some games.”
Landing some victories is the primary goal for the team, Williams said. It’s been a rough go for the football program throughout his career.
“When it comes down to it, I just want to put my teammates in the best situations to win games,” he said. “We haven’t won a lot of games within the (last) few years, so that would be a lot to me and my teammates to bring home some wins.”
Williams is glad he will get a chance to help make some of those wins happen in the fall.
“I’m glad to be here,” he said. “I’m blessed to have the opportunity again to be back on the field.”