LARAMIE — With a decision looming on who Wyoming’s starting quarterback is going to be, one thing’s for certain: Levi Williams won’t factor into it.
Redshirt freshman Sean Chambers has the edge on Tyler Vander Waal, a third-year sophomore that’s been through two fall camps and two springs with nine collegiate starts to his name. Meanwhile, Williams is just getting his feet wet.
Instead of enjoying one final semester of high school, Williams got an early start on his career at Wyoming by enrolling in January and going through the Cowboys’ 15 spring practices. Like most incoming freshmen, there was a lot more than football that Williams had to get acclimated to on his own.
“Usually my whole day is structured,” Williams said. “Usually in high school, there’s only a certain amount of time that was structured and then I could do whatever I want, but in college, you have workouts, then you have class, then you have practice or film or something. Our day is pretty much taken up by that. There’s nothing you can really do unless you want to stay up until (midnight), which obviously you don’t.”
On the field, things moved faster for Williams, another typical adjustment for players making the initial jump from high school to college. There was the way Wyoming ran its practices and new schemes and terminology that came with an offense he’d never run before arriving on campus.
Williams admitted his first practice with the Cowboys was rough, but he eventually started catching up. With Chambers and Vander Waal locked in competition throughout the spring, Williams got many of the third-team reps and was the only signal caller that was allowed to get taken to the ground during team periods and scrimmages as Wyoming coach Craig Bohl and his staff got an early evaluation on what they had in their 6-foot-4, 208-pound youngster.
“I think he’s improved significantly,” Bohl said. “He’s been the one quarterback we’ve allowed to go out there and compete. His throwing motion has gotten better. His understanding of our offense, which is a complicated offense for a high school guy, I think he’s ahead of his time. It’s been great to have him here.”
Just being at Wyoming is still surreal for Williams, who admitted he didn’t know much about the Cowboys’ program or the state itself before taking a visit in January. Williams, who played his prep ball at Smithson Valley in Spring Branch, Texas, originally signed with Houston but was released from his National Letter of Intent when the Cougars made a coaching change shortly after the new year. At that point, Williams was looking for schools that hadn’t inked a quarterback during the early signing period, and Wyoming answered the call.
“It was a true godsend,” Williams said. “Didn’t really have anywhere to land. If this hadn’t of come around, I probably would’ve gone (junior college) or walked on somewhere. But it’s a true blessing that this opportunity came along.”
Williams knows playing this fall is a longshot if things go according to plan. Chambers or Vander Waal will start, and whoever doesn’t will be the backup. The NCAA’s redshirt rule would allow Williams to play in up to four games next season and still keep his redshirt, but being behind two experienced quarterbacks, there may be no need barring injuries.
“To dip into the third guy, typically you’re not going to,” Bohl said. “But we’ll see how the competition goes and see where we’re at health-wise.”
But Williams is staying ready just in case. He said he’s comfortable running about 95 percent of the offense at this point.
He’s got his head start to thank for that.
“If I would’ve come in this summer, it probably would’ve been a lot of deer in the headlights or I would’ve had to be thrown in during a situation where one of the guys got hurt unfortunately,” Williams said. “I’d say it’s definitely beneficial. I feel like I could run the offense pretty well I feel like.”