Less than halfway through his sophomore season in the NFL, Leonard Williams already has six sacks, tied for sixth place amongst his peers. The Jets DE has been terrorizing offensive linemen and quarterbacks on the field, but off the gridiron he's as delightful as they come.
Especially in the locker room, as Williams is always willing to speak to members of the media. Naturally, I saw an opening to find out more about the Jets' sixth overall 2015 NFL draft pick.
Williams is the middle child of five siblings. His three brothers and one sister all share striking resemblances to one another.
"We're all big, like they are all my size. We are big people," the 6'5", 302-pounder laughed. "Everybody always thinks we are Samoan too."
The 22-year-old's father is half African American and half Japanese while his mother is half African American, half Hispanic.
"People can never figure out what nationality I am," he said. "I guess I'm kind of a mutt."
Although his size has helped him explode into the NFL, it's ironically what kept him from playing the game that he loved when he was a kid.
"They told me I was too big for Pop Warner football, so I started playing rugby," Williams said. "We can laugh about it now but baby Leo did not like it. I didn't get to play football until I was fourteen."
The man that everyone calls the "Big Cat" prefers to go by Leo.
The former USC Trojan was born in Florida, but now spends his off seasons in Los Angeles, after he fell in love with the California lifestyle. Leo considers himself more of a West Coaster, and it's a fitting description to say the least.
A few months ago, we sat down for an on-camera interview and I asked him if he ever planned to take his flip-flops off. I noticed he never had on any other type of shoe, besides football cleats. In 40 degree temperatures, sure enough, he sat donning sweatpants, a Jets throwback varsity jacket and Rainbow sandals.
"I told you, I don't take them off!" he said. "I like to let my feet breathe."