Snow, a cliff and a goat path started Antwione Williams' path to the NFL

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Antwione Williams saw the snow fall in the Detroit metropolitan area this weekend and the Georgia native had to go make a purchase.

"I had to go buy a jacket," Williams said. "But I’m excited. It is what it is. You prepare for the climate and you get ready to roll.”

Fortunately for Williams, the Detroit Lions play indoors at Ford Field and 13 of the team’s 16 games this season are indoors with only one potential cold weather game -- in December at against the New York Giants.

But Williams didn’t choose where he’d get to play in the NFL -- April’s draft dictated that for him. Going from high school to college, though, was different. He could make his choice then. And snow played a factor, along with a dicey drive.

Snow, in many ways, also helped set Williams off on his journey to the NFL. He was an undersized linebacker coming out of high school -- or, as he put it, a 185-pound safety -- and that meant few offers from major programs because many viewed him as a player who would need time to develop into the 6-foot-3, 239-pound linebacker he became.

Two schools showed more interest than most: Western Carolina and Georgia Southern. So he took a trip from his home in Georgia to small Cullowhee, North Carolina.

“I left Atlanta and it was like 60 and I got up there and it was like 45 or something like that and there was snow on the ground," Williams said. "It might have been colder than that, and there was snow on the ground. And we were in the mountains, and we went out on a visit with the guys. That night, we went out to a party or something like that. So we’re riding around on this little goat path of a road. This road probably wasn’t wider than this podium that I’m standing on and we’re whipping around and I’m looking over the edge and I see nothing but a drop on a cliff and I’m just like, ‘I don’t know.’

“But I went down to Statesboro, and I loved it. Georgia Southern has a great winning tradition. I know a lot of people up here might not know about it but we do real well, especially versus some MAC teams, and we just had a great time. It reminds me of being down south. It’s pretty cool.”