SouthtownStar Athletes on Campus: Dayton’s William Will named to placekicker watch list
By Mike Walsh For Sun-Times Media August 1, 2014 6:54PM
Dayton kicker William Will | Supplied photo
Updated: September 4, 2014 6:35AM
If not for some words of encouragement from his high school friends at Lincoln-Way East a few years ago, Dayton placekicker William Will might not find himself as being one of the best players at his position in the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision.
Will, a redshirt sophomore, is one of 36 returning athletes who are on the 2014 College Football Performance Awards Placekicker Award Watch List.
Will and the Flyers begin the 2014 season on Sept. 6 at noon (CDT) against visiting Georgetown.
“It’s been a fun ride at Dayton,” Will said. “Everything’s been working out well for me.
“It’s completely a team effort with the holder and the snapper. I wouldn’t succeed without them. On kickoffs, I never have to worry about making the tackles because our guys are flying down there and hitting hard.”
During his time at Lincoln-Way East, Will played four years of soccer and three seasons of football for the Griffins.
“I played soccer my whole life,” the Mokena native said. “During my sophomore year at Lincoln-Way East, some of my friends who were on the football team told me they needed a kicker on the sophomore team.
“So I went out and kicked. The first week I did horribly, but then I got the hang of it.”
And Will obviously has not lost it.
Originally a walk-on at Dayton, Will was chosen to the 2013 All-Pioneer Football League First Team after converting 10-of-12 field-goal attempts and 41-of-43 PATs. Will was 5-of-6 on field goals from beyond 30 yards and led the Flyers in scoring with 71 points.
His longest field goal of the season was a 38-yarder at the end of the second quarter in a 40-8 victory Oct. 5 over visiting Davidson.
“You just have to be confident in what you are doing,” Will said, “And with all the support around me from my coaches and teammates to help me succeed, that’s the biggest thing.
“I just go out there and I’m not thinking about anything else. I just keep my head down and follow through. That’s what I think of.
“I line up before the snap and after that, I don’t look at the goalposts until after the kick. They’re not going anywhere.”
Along with his success on the gridiron, Will also excels in the classroom. He was one of five Flyers picked to the 2013 Pioneer Football League All-Academic Team. Will, who is majoring in marketing, maintains a 3.35 grade-point average.
“The reason why I go to school is to get an education,” Will said. “If I’m not taking care of my grades, then I can’t play football. That’s the first thing my parents have always told me.
“Going to Dayton is a privilege, and if I don’t keep my grades up, then I won’t be able to go there, so that motivates me.”
Joliet Catholic graduate Brock Liston was chosen to the 2014 All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Honorable Mention Team in baseball.
In helping the Warhawks to a 44-7 record and the NCAA Division III national championship, the senior right-hander was 8-1 with a 3.19 ERA. Liston, who was second on the team in wins, made 12 appearances (10 starts). In 62 innings, he struck out 54 and walked 23.
Liston also was one of five pitchers nominated for the WIAC’s Pitcher of the Week Award for April 13.