By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - Steven Williams already belonged to an Auburn family. When he signed a baseball scholarship with the Tigers, he became part of the Auburn family.
“It was a dream come true,” Williams said. “I’ve always been an Auburn fan. To finally do that, it was just really big for me and my family.”
Steven, a left-handed hitting catcher from Albany, Ga., inherited his love of Auburn.
“Dad was a big Auburn fan growing up,” he said. “He and his uncle used to go to a lot of games. They just passed it down to me. I’ve just always been an Auburn fan.”
Steven attracted the attention of college recruiters by batting .521 his sophomore season of high school. As a junior, he raised his average to .524, doubling his home run output to a school-record 11.
“I’m a very versatile player,” Williams said. “I look at myself primarily as a catcher, but I can also play outfield and first base. And a little bit of third base, not much.”
Williams, the No. 3 ranked catcher in the class of 2017, knows his position requires leadership.
“I’m going to be a leader by example,” Williams said. “I’m not really a huge verbal guy on the field. I look at myself as a leader by example. I’m a guy who gives 100 percent energy in every game, every situation. I love to win.”
Williams says he’s already building bonds with future Auburn teammates Tanner Burns and Rhett Fetner, with whom he roomed during a recent tournament at the New York Mets’ stadium.
“We got to talk a lot about the future while we were there,” said Williams, who plans to be part of the baseball resurgence on the Plains.
“That will be huge,” he said. “I’ve always looked at Auburn as a good baseball team. I know the coaching staff has a good handle on what they’re doing. I’m looking forward to a trip to Omaha in the coming years.”
Williams’ confidence in Auburn’s coaches is another factor that attracted him.
“The coaching staff is just amazing,” Williams said. “Coach (Butch) Thompson, he was the assistant coach of the year at Mississippi State before he came. Same with Coach (Brad) Bohannon at Kentucky. Coach (Doug) Sisson, with his pro experience, that was really intriguing to me. They all have different, good things about them. And I just want to be a part of it.”
His baseball talents have taken Williams from coast to coast. He’s also had a chance to swing in the San Diego Padres’ ballpark at the 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic. For his favorite swing, Steven looks to the nation’s capital.
“I like Bryce Harper a lot. I like his swing,” Williams said. “He and I have pretty similar swings. We both have leg kicks. Just throughout the swing we have a lot of similarities.”
An all-state football player, Williams put away the pads a couple years ago.
“I decided to hang up the cleats because I thought it would be better for me just to focus solely on baseball,” he said.
Now, he spends his fall weekends playing tournaments in Atlanta and Florida, preparing to make his Auburn debut in 2018.
“Right now, I’m focused on working out, getting stronger and faster and just a better player.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer