Rookie Brandon Williams improved speed under Carl Lewis' tutelage

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals rookie Brandon Williams might not have world-class speed, but he had world-class coaching in high school.

And he didn't even realize it.

Williams was a member of the CL Stars Track Club -- the track and field team run by former Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis -- for two years while growing up in Brookshire, a suburb of Houston. Williams ran the 200 meters and 4x200 relay for Lewis' club.

But Williams didn't realize Lewis was a track legend. Lewis won nine Olympic gold medals and held world records in the 100 meters and the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.

"I was young then, so I didn't really understand or realize how big of an icon he was in track," Williams told ESPN. "Now, looking back, I was blessed to be able to be coached by him."

Williams said running for Lewis' club made high school track "easier."

Lewis said he saw Williams' speed begin to develop through the relays. As a senior at Royal High School, Williams won the Class 3A state title in the 200 and finished fourth in the 4x200 and 4x400.

"He had a tremendous career," Lewis said. "We knew he'd be successful. I'm just happy to be able to sit here and talk about someone else's success from the club.

"It was just really nice to see him develop through the program and get to college. That was a big thing for us."

Lewis couldn't pass down his record-breaking speed to his pupils, but he did impart his knowledge. Williams remembered running 400s for Lewis because it taught runners two things.

"He really taught us how to hold our form and when we get tired to be smooth instead of pushing and tightening up," Williams said. "Just be smooth and run through it."