Charlottetown's Parker Williams to join University of Toronto Varsity Blues in the fall
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Parker Williams is going from Canada’s smallest province to its largest university.
The 17-year-old Charlottetown native will play football and study kinesiology at the University of Toronto (UofT) in September.
“It is a big change,” Williams said. “Being the big fish in the small pond and moving into a much, much, much larger scale, it’s going to be something to get used to. I think I can do it. I’ve done it a couple of times.”
UofT had a total enrolment of 93,081 in 2019-20 while the Island’s population was estimated by Statistics Canada to be 159,625 as of July 2020.
“If they’re looking out to the Island for a kid, then he’s got to be something special,” said Timberwolves head coach Chris Williams, who is not related to Parker. “Once he gets out there, I have no doubt that he’ll work his way to being a big fish in a big pond, too.”
Williams has the natural attributes football coaches look for.
The Grade 12 student at Colonel Gray High School is six-foot-three and 250 pounds. He is versatile enough to have played a handful of positions for the Cornwall Timberwolves.
But it’s his desire to excel and team-first approach that aren’t as easily measured.
“One of the things that has always stuck out about Parker is his work ethic and drive to be better,” said Chris Williams. “He has grown into an absolutely fantastic leader and an even better person off the field.”
Williams said he was always big into football.
When he was 10 years old, the Grade 5 student played for Summerside’s atom team. There was no Island league for the age group at that point, so the squad played in a league in New Brunswick.
“Ever since then, I just fell in love with (the game), and it’s been a huge part of my life,” Williams said.
He has also trained with teams in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Williams said getting recruited by the University of Toronto wouldn’t have been possible without his parents, Todd Williams and April Murray.
“They’re everything to me,” he said, noting their unwavering support. “They drive me to be the best I can be.”
Todd filmed the games during the season, and they put together a highlight tape to post online. It gained traction, and universities started calling.
“He’s never let that get to his head or anything,” said Chris Williams. “It’s been awesome as a coach because he has set the tone on the field in terms of what we can expect from our players.”