CHARLESTON — Isaac Williamson thought he might have lost his shot to play football at Culver-Stockton College. At the Coles County Clash, an unfortunate incident caused Williamson to suffer a torn ACL, not only keeping him out for that game but for the rest of the season.
Williamson, a senior offensive lineman for Charleston High School, already had an offer on the table from Culver-Stockton. But he didn't know if they would honor the offer after he tore his ACL.
Culver-Stockton lived up to their offer, even though Williamson, who is off crutches already, needed to have surgery on his knee. On Friday, Williamson signed his National Letter of Intent to play football for Culver-Stockton.
"I am very excited. It's a dream come true to play college football, especially after this season. After tearing my ACL, I didn't think it would come true. But I am excited they offered me and to play there," Williamson. "They were really accepting (of the injury) and they weren't going to turn me away because of that because it's a fast-healing thing now. So I should be able to bounce back from that and they knew that."
Williamson sent Culver-Stockton the film from his junior year of high school football and even though he wasn't able to make it to the program's camp over the summer, the Culver-Stockton coaches liked what they saw from the film and offered Williamson.
Williamson said Culver-Stockton coach Tom Sallay proved that it wasn't just talk when he said how much the program and the players were a family to him.
"It was a blessing that I got that offer," Williamson said. "I'm very worried when I had to make that phone call (after the injury) to their coach that he was going to take away the offer and that I was going to have to find somewhere else. It showed that when they said they have a family atmosphere that they really do care about their athletes, and they won't turn you away and that you aren't just a number to them."
Charleston coach Tyler Hanner said he was great to see Williamson move on the next level.
"I am glad he was able to land somewhere. I think he's a tremendous athlete, a hard-worker and a physical ball-player," Hanner said. "The knee injury did worry me about him getting to land somewhere, but technology today, a lot of people bounce back from those. I think he's going to come back stronger."
Culver-Stockton is an NAIA program in Canton, Missouri.
Williamson is looking forward to playing offensive line for Culver-Stockton and feels like he has made progress at the position the past couple of seasons.
"It's going to be amazing. I've enjoyed playing offensive line the last three years here and hopefully, I get bigger and continue for the next four. I've worked on technique and I've gotten stronger and faster and I've worked for this goal," Williamson said. "I feel like it's going to be a great learning experience and build me into a good man. I think I can have a big impact. I am pretty competitive and I am going to go in and compete as much as possible."
Hanner said Williamson not only made progress on the football field but off it, too.
"On the football field, he made progress and his technique got better. I really think he made a lot more strides off the field," Hanner said. "I think he's grown up a bunch, and I think that's going to serve him well. I am more proud of that than anything on the field. He's turned into an excellent young man."
Williamson plans to major in health sciences.