Mario Williams fought through adversity to become a top pass rusher & fan favorite for the Houston Texans football team.
Mario Williams: Early Life
Born January 31, 1985, in Richlands, North Carolina, Mario Williams was immersed in athletics at an early age. The young Mario Williams grew like a tree and would eventually stand over 6-foot-6. Mario Williams also dedicated himself to his family and as a student. In order to get a jump on his NCAA football career, Mario Williams buckled down and graduated high school early. Mario Williams would continue this dedication into his college years with an impressive GPA.
Mario Williams: College
Mario Williams emerged from Richlands High School in North Carolina as one of the top defensive end prospects in the country. The size of Mario Williams blew away scouts, especially with the speed and agility he put with his impressive frame. As a raw athletic talent, there were few in the nation who could match Mario Williams. The trick for coaches at North Carolina State was to get Mario Williams to develop the pass-rush moves that would move him past a pure physical talent.
The North Carolina State Wolfpack was a great fit for Mario Williams as the defensive line featured two other great young players in DT John McCargo and DE/OLB Manny Lawson. The talented trio quickly gave the North Carolina State Wolfpack the best front four in the NCAA and allowed Mario Williams plenty of time left one-on-one thanks to many double teams heading the way of Manny Lawson and John McCargo.
Mario Williams was an elite pass rusher by the time he was a sophomore, and his physical ability turned heads at every level of football. Mario Williams soon racked up sacks and tackles for loss and took All-American and All-ACC awards over his career. With all the physical tools in place and great coaching behind him, Mario Williams was ready to make an impact on the NFL. Because his sister needed his support emotionally and financially, Mario Williams entered the 2006 NFL draft as a junior after contemplating quitting football forever to help her.
Mario Williams: 2006 NFL Draft
The 2006 NFL Draft was loaded at the top with world-famous talent like Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and Vince Young, leaving Mario Williams to fly under the casual fan's radar. An outstanding performance at the NFL Combine made Mario Williams a household name as his unbelievable physical measurables in the 40-yard dash and bench press became known. The Houston Texans had the first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft and were expected to take Reggie Bush or Vince Young. The Houston Texans shocked their fans by drafting Mario Williams first overall.
Mario Williams Vs. Reggie & Vince:
In general, fans with Houston Texans tickets were angry with the selection of Mario Williams. With the fan base split between Reggie Bush and Vince Young, Mario Williams found himself the target of harsh criticism from both fans with Houston Texans tickets and sports analysts alike. The terms "Bust" and "Combine Warrior" were thrown at Mario Williams, and the Houston Texans received a great deal of flak for the pick. Mario Williams persevered and fought to get the respect he knew he had to earn.
The 2006-07 NFL season was rough on Mario Williams. A significant toe injury slowed the big man for the first time in his career. The adjustment to the NFL was hard with the injury and with his physical ability limited, Mario Williams struggled against good offensive tackles. Through the injury and the criticism Mario Williams played his heart out on every play and eventually registered 4.5 sacks. The number was low, but a healthy Mario Williams with more coaching would become a dangerous force.
Mario Williams: Super Mario Arrives
Fans with Houston Texans tickets did not go easy on Mario Williams, and he went into the 2007-08 NFL season with something to prove. Again Mario Williams started out slow and critics were on his heels. Mario Williams exploded against the Miami Dolphins and would never turn back to his earlier underachieving days. As Mario Williams began to become an impressive force off the edge and the sacks began to fly on to the stat sheet, critics began to disappear and the fans returned to back the Houston Texans and Mario Williams.
Finally putting all the pieces together and getting healthy, Mario Williams became a monster in the second half of the 2007-08 NFL season. A 3.5 sack day against the Denver Broncos was the national coming-out party for Mario Williams. The dominating performance helped earn Mario Williams the nickname "Super Mario" and sports analysts everywhere changed their tunes. Mario Williams ended the 2007-08 NFL season with 14 sacks and barely missed the Pro Bowl.
Mario Williams: Face of a Franchise
With the 2008-09 NFL season well underway, it looks like "Super Mario" is back. Fans with Houston Texans tickets fill Reliant Stadium with chants of "Mar-i-o!" and the "1-Up" sound from the classic Super Mario Bros. video game plays every time that Mario Williams racks up a sack. The Houston Texans are not even at the halfway point of the season, and Mario Williams is already up to six sacks.
As the best player on the Houston Texans roster, Mario Williams continues to grow as a player and as a man. The support of fans with Houston Texans tickets at home games has only helped Super Mario develop into one of the best defensive players in football. With MLB DeMeco Ryans backing him up, the Houston Texans could have the foundation for a legendary defense for years to come.