By Victor Parkins
Two standout Milan Bulldogs and team captains signed with UT Martin as PWO’s (Preferred Walk-Ons) last Friday afternoon.
Speedster Orlandis Williamson will play both football and baseball at UTM. Williamson is a 3-year starter on both squads at MHS. On the diamond, Williamson, a lefty, plays outfield and is the lead off batter. Williamson’s varsity batting average is .370 and he has 62 career stolen bases. He is on track to break the MHS school record of career stolen bases this season even though the ‘Dogs only played 3 games in 2020 because of the coronavirus. Jake Morris’ 75 career stolen bases are the best at time at MHS.
On the gridiron, the all-purpose Williamson played tailback, receiver, quarterback and defensive back. Last season for the ‘Dogs, Williamson rushed for 395 yards and 7 TD’s, and 2, 2-pt. conversion runs. He was the sixth leading tackler with 36 stops, 7 pass breakups, 1 INT for a touchdown and a punt block.
Orlandis is the son Raven and Carl Williamson. He plans to pursue a degree in Agriculture at UTM.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Williamson said. “Playing baseball and football in college will be a challenge but I intend on putting in the work it takes to be successful. I plan to get advice and workout with my cousin Avery (Williamson) all I can to get ready for college. As soon as baseball is over, I’ll get back in the weight room and get ready to report to UTM in June.”
In 2020 from the linebacker position, Steven Ballard made 52 tackles, broke up 5 passes, made two interceptions, recovered a fumble and recovered a blocked punt. He said he is super excited about play for UT Martin.
“I have a great opportunity to play next level and earn a scholarship as soon as the spring semester,” he said. “They’re recruiting me to play linebacker and maybe some defensive back—pretty much the same position I played here. From now until June, I’ll continue to work out with my dad and with the coaches here. They’ll get me where I need to be in June. As long as I want to put in the work it should be an easy transition.
Steven is the son of Anthony and Tawanna Ballard. He plans to earn a degree in Business Management with the dream of owning his own business one day.
Bulldog head coach Carl Diffee said Ballard and Williamson were easy players to coach and led the team by example.
“These two guys sitting up here today say a lot about the brand we’re trying to build here,” said Diffee Friday afternoon. “They are two of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached. We never had to worry about these two guys doing the right thing. They always set a good example in everything that they do as exemplified by their actions. Everything we accomplished this year was a reflection of their leadership.”