For Edgerrin Williams-Hernandez, it was almost preordained when he started playing football. After all, his name came from Edgerrin James, a professional running back for the Indianapolis Colts.
“My dad was a huge football fan,” Williams-Hernandez said. “So it almost feels like a full circle moment [that] I took off with football.”
The fourth-year receiver from Hamilton, Ontario only started playing football in grade nine — before that, he was a basketball player. It was a hallway conversation with the football coach that changed everything.
“He just told me like 'You should really try football' and that was when I really took it serious,” Williams-Hernandez said. That one conversation led him to UBC and to a successful career.
During last year’s Shrum Bowl, a game between UBC and SFU, Williams-Hernandez made some sneaky dodges for yards. A clip of them was posted online and within days, it had over one million views and was seen by TSN. But Williams-Hernandez stayed humble.
“I didn't really want to let it get to my head too much,” he said. “I want to take the good with the bad and use that video to help me as far as being the best player I can be and make sure that I do this more than just once.”
Williams-Hernandez’s ‘claim to fame’ may have been that play, but he’s quietly been helping out UBC’s offensive core since 2019.
Over his university career, he’s had over 780 receiving yards and just this season, he’s averaged 40.5 punt return yards per game.
Now that the team has the best shot they’ve had in a long time at the Hardy Cup, Williams-Hernandez is locked in.
“I just focused more than ever right now. So I'm just trying to help the team win and then hopefully I get drafted,” he said.
Off the field, Williams-Hernandez has been just as impactful.
Now that he’s an upper year, he has realized the mentor position he has fallen into for his other teammates.
“I'm a person who likes to try to relate to everybody. I feel like everybody looks at things differently,” he said. With his experience with disappointments from UBC’s 2019–2021 seasons, he can better understand what some of the younger guys are going through when a loss comes.
“I want to be able to be there for all my teammates, but be there for them like a friend rather than just a teammate because I feel like that's when it'll hit different,” he said.
“My teammates really do keep me going,” he said. “Especially when I've been down with an injury, they've been nothing but love.”
Williams-Hernandez believes this year’s roster can go the distance and he’s excited to do his part for the team.
“I look at it like, if I can do my best, it only helps the team be better. I just want to be able to bring my best as a leader, as a player and even as a friend — those three aspects will help us be better.”