Meet Jesse “Tha Monstar” Williams.
He was the Seahawks’ first of three picks in the fifth round of the the 2013 NFL Draft last Saturday, when the club traded up with the Detroit Lions to make the defensive tackle Williams their own with the No. 137 overall selection. One day later, NFL.com’s Charley Casserly tagged Williams as one of the Top 10 steals of the draft.
He makes his home in Brisbane, Australia, and according to the American Football International Review, is the first indigenous Australian to break into the NFL.
As you can see, tattoos are a part of his persona. He has the sentence “I stopped checking for the monster under the bed when I realized the monster is me” inked along his right hand and the phrase “YOLO” – an acronym for “You Only Live Once” – running down his left side-burn.
“It’s something my mom always used to tell me, and I try to live that most of the time,” Williams said. “You Only Live Once, I have to make the most of the opportunities. My whole journey, coming from Australia, to Arizona, then Alabama, then continue my way to Seattle.”
Williams helped the Alabama Crimson Tide win back-to-back national championships (2011-12) in his only two years at the university. Before that, he played two seasons at Arizona Western Community College. He can bench press 600 pounds, and despite his massive bulk at 6-foot-3 and 325 pounds, he clocked in at under five seconds (4.9) in the 40-yard dash at Alabama’s Pro Day last month.
When the Seahawks selected Williams, an entire continent took notice. Several reactions from proud Australians poured in via Twitter, congratulating Williams now that his hard work and dedication to the game that he didn’t pick up until his early teens was coming to fruition.
One of the nation’s more notable reactions came from Australia’s head of government – Prime Minister Julia Gillard:
Within minutes “Tha Monstar” and “Seahawks” were trending all across the land Down Under. Australia natives who had closely followed Williams’ path to the NFL were quickly dubbing the Seahawks the nation’s favorite team. And Williams echoed Gillard’s remarks when asked about transitioning to life in the Emerald City.
“Seattle is on the west coast, and I’m pretty familiar with that culture and lifestyle out there,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting back there. It’s definitely a shorter flight back to Australia from there than it is from Alabama.
“It should be fun once I get out there and get into it.”
It should be fun not only for Williams, but for his entire homeland as they continue to track his journey.