Lake Forest’s Trent Williams says ‘yes’ to Colgate

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LAKE FOREST — The college decision can be the biggest of a young athlete’s life.

Sometimes, the correct answer presents itself. Then the decision becomes a matter of just saying, “yes.”

Trent Williams said yes to Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y.

On Sept. 7, the Lake Forest senior football player boarded a plane for Syracuse, N.Y., with his father, Hugh.

“Our flight was at 6 a.m. We left my house at 4 a.m.,” Trent Williams said. “I got like an hour of sleep (the night before).”

Later that day, they attended a football game at Colgate. It was Williams’ second visit to the school. He had visited over the summer, which left him with an incomplete picture.

“There was no one there,” Williams said, adding that the school did offer him a scholarship. “This time I saw the atmosphere and the people on campus.”

A three-year starter at Lake Forest, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker is a quarterback-seeking missile when the ball is snapped. The Scouts’ most reliable tackler in the backfield — he recorded two tackles for a loss in the team’s 40-6 victory over Mundelein Sept. 12 — has added more balance to his game this season.

“Trent has always known his assignments but this year he’s really locked in,” senior linebacker Jack Kutschke said. “He’s been able to influence other players in learning their assignments.”

Coach Chuck Spagnoli added, “He’s kind of a wily veteran. He doesn’t get fooled when he has to make plays.”

Williams’ presence has yielded much success on the field. Since 2011, he has been in the lineup for 20 regular season and five playoff victories. Winning is something he shares with Colgate.

The defending Patriot League champion, Colgate is second only to Lehigh in conference wins (78) over the past 17 seasons. The Raiders don’t lose often, but on Sept. 7, they dropped a 37-34 game to Albany.

What struck Williams was how players dealt with defeat. He observed the locker room after the loss and said he learned something that influenced his decision.

“They handled it like men. They were like, ‘Let’s move on to the next week,’ ” Williams said. “It’s one loss.”

After spending the night in the dorm room of Raiders freshman linebacker Kyle Diener, Williams woke up the next morning and found his phone. He texted Lake Forest teammates David Glynn, Jack Yale and Charlie Moss. He said he was ready to say yes.

Later that day, he was in a meeting room on campus with Raiders coach Dick Biddle and assistant coach Steve Casula.

“(Biddle asked) ‘What do we have to do to get you to come down here?’ ” Williams said. “I said, ‘To be honest, I want to play for you. I want to be a Raider.’ ”

Back in Lake Forest Sunday night, Williams walked into his house at 11 p.m. He surprised his mother, Samantha, with the news.

“She was happy, gave me a big hug,” Williams said.

That’s the power of yes.

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