Never gonna lose: Martell Smith-Williams on and off the field

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By Thomas Frey

Linebacker Martell Smith-Williams will be attending Arizona Christian University to play football in the coming fall. The native of Memphis has prepared for the next level and has stayed in shape doing some of his favorite workouts like lifting 335 pounds on the bench, or running the 100-yard dash.

Smith-Williams is a former Gavilan College standout who threw down quarterbacks more frequently than most. His footwork and sheer strength allowed him to get around or go through offensive lineman with ease and change what may have been a second and short, to a third and long.

“I got a lot of my footwork from basketball playing in prep school in Memphis under coach Eric “Cowboy” Robinson,” Smith-Williams said.


After a move from Gavilan to Mesa College, Smith-Williams worked hard to hit the field. Now, he will get his chance at ACU, a NAIA school.

“I just want a one and done year,” Smith-Williams said. “I want to get ready for them pro days and NFL Combine workouts.”

A few weeks ago, Smith-Williams wanted to play and he joined the Coast to Coast Football league for one game where he had shredded the competition by having 12 tackles and one sack.

“It was to damn easy,” Smith-Williams said.

His fuel on the field comes from his friend and rapper Future.

Martell Smith-Williams with Future
Martell Smith-Williams with Future

“I give credit to Future on the music he drops,” Smith Williams said. “With all the pain and feelings he puts into his music, I combined that with all my pain and anger I have on the field remembering all things I’ve seen and been through coming from the city and hood I come from, Orange Mound Memphis. I was always around Freebandz in Memphis since I was 22 being around my family Lion Heart and the legend of all of Memphis, OG Double D before he past, Rest in Peace.”

Smith-Williams is part of Future’s Freebandz family. He chooses to hang out with rappers and artists because he is different then the average athlete.  

“Me, Future, BK and DJ Esco have some of the same friends and family members back down south where we are from, Memphis and Atlanta,” Smith-Williams said. “Trust, love, and a bond was builded from day one. We all look at each other as brothers so when the season is over I spend some of my time kicking it with them around the map.”

BK, who is Future’s manager and Smith-Williams have a surprise for the world in 2017 according to Smith-Williams.

Martell Smith-Williams with Drumma Boy (left) and Future (right)
Martell Smith-Williams with Drumma Boy (left) and Future (right)
Martell Smith-Williams with Drumma Boy
Martell Smith-Williams with Drumma Boy

Future has done a lot of music with Drumma Boy who Smith-Williams calls his, “day one brother, the hottest super producer in the music industry who has done music with artists such as Chris Brown, 2 Chainz, August Alsina, Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, T.I., Anthony Hamilton, Yo Gotti, Gucci Mane, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross and more. Big shout out to him.”

Smith-Williams has the support of former South Carolina Gamecock and San Diego Chargers first-round draft pick Melvin Ingram who gave him some words of advice.

“Melvin Ingram a good friend of mine said, ‘don’t get lost in the limelight, my time is coming, stay focused on my grades and work on the field and come draft day we gone get it popping,” Smith-Williams said. “He also said keep God first, stay prayed up, and take care of my mom and daughters.”

Another one of his friends, Andre Branch of the Jacksonville Jaguars gave him similar advice.

“He told me don’t drop school early to jump into the NFL,” Smith-Williams said. “He said, ‘kid, the money not going nowhere, your education is more important first.”


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