Honors & Awards
» Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten (2021, Coaches, Media)
» Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten (2020)
» Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll (Fall 2018)
Deontai Williams started the first eight games at safety in 2021 before missing the final four games of the season due to injury. He totaled 46 tackles, 2.0 tackle for loss, four interceptions and three pass breakups. Following the conclusion of the regular season, Williams ranked 11th nationally with four interceptions despite his four missed games. He was named an honorable-mention All-Big Ten defender by the conference coaches and media.
Williams made six tackles, including a tackle for loss, while making his 10th career start at Illinois. The next week against Fordham, Williams recorded four tackles and intercepted a pair of passes. Against Buffalo, Williams recorded four tackles and tied his career high with two breakups. At No. 3 Oklahoma, he recorded nine tackles. Williams made five tackles, including a one-yard tackle for loss at No. 20 Michigan State. He made three tackles in the win over Northwestern. Williams intercepted his third pass of the season against No. 9 Michigan and totaled eight tackles. He had another interception and a pass breakup the next week at Minnesota, finishing with seven tackles before exiting the game early with an injury that proved to be season-ending.
Williams played in every game and made seven starts while earning honorable-mention All-Big Ten accolades in 2020. Williams finished with a career-high 51 tackles, and he set career highs with 4.0 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack. He also broke up four passes, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.
Williams earned the start in the season opener at No. 5 Ohio State after missing nearly all of the 2019 season due to injury. Williams made five tackles against the Buckeyes before being disqualified in the second half due to a targeting penalty. He had to sit out the first half of the Northwestern game but returned to finish with four tackles and his second career tackle for loss in the second half.
Williams made three tackles and broke up a pass against Penn State and arguably delivered the key play in the Huskers’ win. Williams had a 13-yard strip sack, and he recovered the fumble and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown. Williams was the first Husker to have a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery for a touchdown on the same play since at least 1962, when complete game statistics are available.
Against Illinois, Williams had a then-career-high six tackles. He topped that effort with a then-career-high seven tackles at Iowa, all of which were solo stops. Williams then set a career high in tackles for the third straight game in the win at Purdue, totaling 12 tackles, including 10 solo stops. He also broke up a pass and had 1.0 tackle for loss against the Boilermakers. Williams made it back-to-back games with double-digit tackles against Minnesota, totaling 10 tackles, 1.0 TFL and a career-high two pass breakups. He finished the season with four tackles at Rutgers.
The play of Williams and the rest of the Husker secondary helped Nebraska limit four its eight opponents to fewer than 200 yards passing.
Williams earned the start and made two early tackles in the season opener with South Alabama before leaving the game in the first half with an injury. The injury proved to be season ending, as Williams appeared in only one game as a junior.
Williams made an immediate impact in his first year, appearing in every game with a start against Purdue. He totaled 23 tackles and one TFL, and he had at least one tackle in 10 of Nebraska’s 12 games. Williams had a knack for the ball, forcing two fumbles, recovering one fumble, intercepting two passes and breaking up two more passes. Williams tied for the team lead in interceptions, forced fumbles and fumble recoveries.
Williams recorded his first career pass breakup in the season opener with Colorado and then posted his first career tackle the next week vs. Troy. At No. 19 Michigan, Williams picked off the first pass of his career with a diving interception in the end zone. He started the first game of his career against Purdue and recorded three tackles. He then made five tackles the next week at No. 16 Wisconsin. Williams had one tackle each against Northwestern and Minnesota. He was a disruptive force against Bethune-Cookman, totaling two tackles while recovering a fumble, intercepting a pass and breaking up another. He forced the first fumble of his career and had four tackles at No. 8 Ohio State. Williams forced another fumble the next week against Illinois, when he had a pair of tackles. He ended his season with a two-tackle performance at Iowa that included his first career tackle for loss.
Before Nebraska (Trinity Christian Academy/Jones County Junior College)
Williams totaled 26 tackles and recorded two interceptions and two forced fumbles for Jones County Junior College in 2017, helping the Bobcats to an 8-2 record and an appearance in the Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges playoffs. In 2016, Williams played in the season opener and totaled four tackles and one fumble recovery before an injury sidelined him for the rest of the season. He was granted a redshirt for the 2016 season.
Regarded as a three-star recruit, Williams was ranked among the nation’s top 30 junior college prospects by the 247Sports Composite rankings, which also tabbed Williams as the nation’s No. 2 junior college safety. He chose Nebraska after also considering Florida, Ole Miss and Central Florida.
Originally from Jacksonville, Fla., Williams played his high school ball for Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville. Coming out of high school, Williams was ranked among the nation’s top 250 players by ESPN, and he received scholarship offers from Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame and UCLA, among others.
Deontai was born on Oct. 4, 1996, and he is the son of Shantell Davis and Roosevelt Williams. Deontai majored in child, youth and family studies, earning his degree in December of 2019. He has volunteered with a Day of Service, the Nebraska Football Road Race, and local hospital visits. Deontai's father, Roosevelt, was a third-round pick in the 2002 NFL Draft and played two seasons in the NFL, one each with the Bears (2002) and Browns (2003).