Jarvis Williams (defensive back)

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Jarvis Williams
No. 26
Personal information
Born:(1965-05-16)May 16, 1965
Palatka, Florida
Died:May 25, 2010(2010-05-25) (aged 45)
Palatka, Florida
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school:Palatka (FL)
NFL Draft:1988 / Round: 2 / Pick: 42
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles:575
Forced fumbles:2
Fumble recoveries:3
Defensive touchdowns:1
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Jarvis Eric Williams, Sr. (May 16, 1965 – May 25, 2010) was an American college and professional football player who was a defensive back in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons during the 1980s and 1990s. Williams played college football for the University of Florida, and was recognized as an All-American. Thereafter, he played professionally for the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants of the NFL. Williams died unexpectedly at the age of 45.

Early years[edit]

Williams was born in Palatka, Florida in 1965.[1] He attended Palatka High School,[2] and was a key player for the Palatka Panthers high school football team that won the Florida Class 3A state championship in 1981.[3]

College career[edit]

Williams accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in nearby Gainesville, Florida, where he played cornerback for head coach Galen Hall's Florida Gators football teams from 1984 to 1987.[4] As a freshman and sophomore, he was part of two of the best teams in Gators history; the team posted identical 9–1–1 overall win-loss records in 1984 and 1985, and the best-in-the-SEC records of 5–0–1 and 5–1 during those same seasons.[4] Williams is often remembered for the hard-hitting tackle that he delivered to Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Melvin Bratton in 1986—a hit that left Bratton temporarily unconscious.[5] He was named a first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection in 1986 and a first-team All-American in 1987.[4] Williams started forty-five consecutive games over four seasons (the second-highest total in Gators history), had ten career interceptions, and led the team in tackles (77) and punt returns (20 for 222 yards) during his senior season.[4]

He was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 2001.[6][7]

Professional career[edit]

Williams was chosen by the Miami Dolphins in the second round (forty-second pick overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft,[8] and played safety for the Dolphins from 1988 to 1993.[9] In Miami, Williams was reunited with his former Gators teammate Louis Oliver when the Dolphins drafted Oliver in 1989; together they were the Dolphins' starting safeties for five seasons.[10] In his first five NFL seasons with the Dolphins, Williams recorded fourteen interceptions, including one he returned forty-two yards for a touchdown in 1990.[11]

He played his final NFL season for the New York Giants in 1994.[9] During the season, he recorded sixty tackles and two interceptions in thirteen games.[12]

During his seven-season NFL career, Williams played in 104 regular season games and started in ninety-five of them; he recorded 575 tackles and sixteen interceptions, with one touchdown return.[1]

Life after the NFL[edit]

Williams worked as a volunteer assistant football coach at Interlachen High School in Interlachen, Florida,[3] and as an assistant coach at Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, Florida.[13]

Williams' son, Jarvis Eric Williams, Jr., was the starting fullback from 2009 to 2010 for the Jacksonville University Dolphins football team,[10] and was named the 2007 Pioneer Football League Newcomer of the Year by Street & Smith's College Football annual as the starting Linebacker for the Dolphins in his freshman season. Williams' former Gators teammate, quarterback Kerwin Bell, was the coach of JU at the time.[13]

Williams died suddenly and without prior warning from an acute asthma attack just before midnight on May 25, 2010; he was 45 years old.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Pro-Football-Reference.com, Players, Jarvis Williams. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ databaseFootball.com, Players, Jarvis Williams Archived February 14, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Michael DiRocco, "Former Gator Jarvis Williams has died," Florida Times-Union (May 26, 2010). Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide Archived April 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 87–88, 92, 96, 150, 153, 186 (2011). Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  5. ^ Associated Press, "Jarvis Williams, Former N.F.L. Defensive Back, Dies at 45," The New York Times, p. A21 (May 28, 2010). Retrieved May 28, 2010.
  6. ^ F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  7. ^ "Nine Former Gators Enshrined into the Hall of Fame," GatorZone.com (April 6, 2001). Retrieved July 21, 2011.
  8. ^ Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1988 National Football League Draft. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
  9. ^ a b National Football League, Historical Players, Jarvis Williams. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Jeremy Fowler, "Former Dolphin, Gator Jarvis Williams dies at 45," Sun-Sentinel (May 26, 2010). Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  11. ^ Jeff Darlington, "Former Miami Dolphins safety Jarvis Williams dies at 45," The Miami Herald (May 27, 2010). Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  12. ^ ESPN, New York Giants, Players, Jarvis Williams. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  13. ^ a b c Robbie Andreu, "Jarvis Williams, UF football great, dies at 45," Gainesville Sun (May 26, 2010). Retrieved May 27, 2010.


  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
  • Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196-X.