Ravens Try Out Former SEC Track Star at Wide Receiver

Ravens Tee Martin

Getty Baltimore Ravens wide receiver coach Tee Martin carries the ball during a 1999 NCAA football game.

The Baltimore Ravens hosted former University of Tennessee sprinter Mustaqueem Williams for a tryout, per team writer Clifton Brown, with the former track star taking reps with the wide receivers during practice.

Williams has not played football since his days at Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, Virginia, about 90 minutes south of Baltimore, where he was a star running back with offers from Boston College and the University of Toledo. Instead, he pursued a collegiate track career at Tennessee, where he won multiple SEC championships in the 200-meter dash.

Now, the 26-year-old Williams is trying to start a professional football career after attracting the attention of Ravens wide receiver coach Tee Martin, himself a former star athlete at Tennessee. After backing up Peyton Manning for two years, Martin led the Volunteers football team to a national championship in 1998 along future Ravens Hall of Fame running back Jamal Lewis.

Those Tennessee connections got Williams on Martin’s radar, where he will attempt to follow in the footsteps of other Vols track stars-turned-pro receivers.

“I got some film on the internet about him running routes, and I thought it was enough to look at,” said Martin on June 14. “So, we brought him in for a workout, and he was very surprisingly a lot better than what we thought, and so it was enough for us to keep him around and do a minicamp, and we’ll see where it goes from here.”

Martin mentioned former NFL wideouts Willie Gault and Anthony Miller as examples “who translated their game speed to receiver positions in the NFL and had success.” Gault won Super Bowl XX with the Chicago Bears in 1986 and Miller made five Pro Bowls during his 10 year career with the then-San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos.

Footage of Williams in Action

Matt Cohen of the Baltimore Sun captured a video of Williams showing off his speed and reeling in a deep ball at training camp on June 14.

Williams has also posted multiple videos on social media of his transition from running sprints and passing batons to running routes and catching footballs.

Williams’ NFL Future

Williams’ speed and overall athleticism is on full display in his highlights, but he has a steep learning curve if he is going to make it in the NFL. Route-running and catching are obvious skills to develop, but Williams won’t be able to unleash his full sprint speed in the pros unless he can learn to break the press at the line of scrimmage.

If Williams is able to make a strong impression in Baltimore, he could earn a spot on the practice squad where he could learn under Martin and passing game specialist Keith Williams, who has previously trained All-Pro wideouts like Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill.

But the Ravens’ wide receiver competition is intense, with Baltimore’s young pass-catchers smelling an opportunity for more snaps and targets after the departure of Hollywood Brown. There are just four roster locks – Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, James Proche and Tylan Wallace – with a slew of undrafted receivers competing to stay in Baltimore.

Among them are ex-Alabama slot receiver Slade Bolden and former Mississippi standout Makai Polk, though a veteran addition via trade or free agency still isn’t out of the question.