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Macen Williams: Juggling Football, Fatherhood and NFL Aspirations

Taylyn Hadley Avatar
November 10, 2023

In his redshirt junior season as a Sun Devil, defensive back Macen Williams is amid a breakout year and the 21-year-old is juggling a lot more than just football and academics in his life.

With a career high of four tackles in a 21-24 loss against Cal on the road, Macen has his eyes set on success as he concludes his last year with ASU and begins his preparation for the NFL.

Already surpassing his previous two years in total tackles with 10, the backup defensive standout for the Sun Devils out of Carson, California envisions a clear route to the NFL, feeling that it’s well within his grasp.

In addition to dedicating himself to pursuing an NFL career and managing the demands of being a student-athlete, Macen welcomed his first child earlier this year, further adding to the complexities of his already busy life.

“It was a happy surprise. I definitely wasn’t planning for it,” Macen said. “It’s not anything like you expect, especially at like this age with everything I had going on. But, you know, I was ready to embrace it.” 


Macen Williams was born on January 11, 2002 and on January 9, 2023, Macen Williams II came into the world.

“He’s really like my twin,” Macen said. “I named him after me too.”

Fatherhood unexpectedly became a reality for the young football star, emerging as a miracle amidst his hectic schedule.

A post on Macen’s Instagram on Jan. 27, announced the birth of his first son alongside the first photos of his newborn after he had initially kept nun about the pregnancy. One photo showed the baby surrounded by small, woven footballs and was accompanied by the caption, “Its a indescribable feelin, I just know im blessed to the fullest.”

The moment he received the news of impending fatherhood, Macen was filled with excitement about the arrival of his mini-me. He described his little one as someone who had completely transformed his life.

Of course intertwined with excitement was a twinge of nervousness. For any first-time father, knowing what to expect can be challenging and this was even more demanding for Macen given his unique position.

At just 20 years old when he received the news, Macen had only one option: to mature and adapt quickly.

He was going to have to simultaneously handle Division I football, work towards his undergraduate degree and care for a child all in a cohesive manner.

“It definitely isn’t easy, you know with school, football and you know, being a dad, but you just gotta learn how to time yourself wisely,” Macen said. “But, more than anything, you just gotta learn how to enjoy everything for what it is because not everybody gets to have opportunities like I do.”

Feeling grateful for the newfound opportunity, Macen was thankful to be going through it all with the person he calls “my one.” Macen had found the one and now they were going to have a little blend of their best qualities walking around.

Although Macen Williams II’s blend of both has turned rather one sided as he is a mirrored image of his father. 

Macen Williams II adorns curly brown hair, big brown eyes and already is pictured with more footballs than most would be throughout their entire lives.

As Macen said, he is his true mini-me. 

Now, with a degree in hand, his name on a Division I football roster and actively making strides towards an NFL career, Macen puts being a dad at the forefront of his biggest accomplishments and priorities.

“(I have) learned a lot,” Macen said. “I really pride myself on being a good dad before anything.”

A Sun Devil in the making

With a tiny head that’s just half the size of a football, Macen’s son is already joining him as one of the boys and it seems he is on his way to becoming a remarkable football player himself.

Getting a head start on ASU’s strategies and routes, Macen is producing a true Sun Devil in the making. Whether Macen is in football meetings or watching game film, you will find his little twin right by his side, always there.

“Yesterday I took him to my academic study hall (then) we took a nap in the Players’ Lounge,” Macen said with a laugh. “(Then we) went straight to a meeting so I mean, (we are) just spending that quality time together.” 

Macen loves watching his son grow up before his eyes and is thankful that he gets to tag along with him as much as possible. He takes pleasure in witnessing the fresh activities and ideas that his son is actively developing.

At the moment, Macen Williams II is in the stage of development where he is mimicking all those who give him attention. So, Macen spends a lot of time talking to him and attempting to turn gibberish into meaningful communication.

Not quite able to play a game of catch yet, the two spend time with each other in different ways. Macen’s favorite activity is anything that makes his son laugh. 

“I make him laugh a lot, like he’s just ticklish,” Macen said. “Helping him try to walk, things like that. He’s a really active baby.”

Although Macen’s hands are full during this stage in his and his son’s life, whenever he talks about Macen Williams II he never loses his radiant smile– a smile that the father-son duo both share.

It is clear that he takes nothing for granted. He flaunts his busy life as a football player but also shares his life as a dad. Macen is living the life he never knew he had dreamed of; Playing football sandwiched in between spending time with his son.

“I wake up every day (and) kiss my baby,” Williams said. “Go to practice with all my brothers and stuff like that. After that, I pick up my son.” 

Macen’s teammates truly double as his brothers and even serve as uncles to Macen Williams II who is excitedly welcomed to every team meeting with open arms and giddy smiles.

After all, he is a Sun Devil.

On top of his chosen uncles, Macen Williams II is adorned with two biological uncles in Max and Marcelles Williams who are football stars in their own respect. 

Taking the field is Williams, Williams and… Williams

Max, the eldest brother among the Williams siblings, currently serves as a safety for USC. This season is presumed to be his last with the Trojans and it also marks the final season for both USC and ASU to [participate in the same conference.

Fortunately for the brothers, they had the chance to compete against each other one last time under the lights on Sep. 23, 2023, at Mountain America Stadium. This game marked the final showdown of their careers, concluding with a 28-42 loss for ASU.

“We played with each other our whole lives (and) for us to have that one final game to play against each other, that’s stuff you dream about,” Macen said.” When we (were) younger we always dreamed about doing stuff like that. For it to come to fruition, it felt like it paid off, all (that) hard work when you were younger.”

With the stands packed full of family to watch the brothers’ final matchup, divided on a Trojan or Sun Devil victory, the scene paints a fairytale picture of the incredible journey that the Williams family is going through.

Macen and Max also have a younger brother named Marcelles, who is presently a senior at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, California.

The talented youngster received offers from the likes of Arizona, Alabama, UCLA and Oklahoma before deciding to follow in his eldest brother’s footsteps and sign on to become a Trojan.

As the three brothers pursue their individual paths in Division I college football, Macen attributes their success and competitive spirit to their dad, who served as the driving force behind their journey to the next level.

“We competed against each other almost every day (and) nobody took it easy,” Macen said. “So, even with my brother being three years younger than me and five years younger than my oldest one, my dad used to make us go against him and not take it easy on him.” 

It may sound like a typical tough-love situation, but Macen firmly believes that it significantly contributed to the youngest brother’s current position and success.

Marcelles has spent so much of his life playing against rougher, tougher and taller competition and now, he has grown to become the rougher and tougher competition.

“Now that he’s playing (at) his age level, you know, everything has slowed down for him and that’s why it seems like he (has) so much patience on the field,” Macen said. “He’s so used to playing up and playing with people that are bigger (and) faster than him… You know, it’s real easy for him now.”

With the support of his brothers, Macen is accomplishing one goal after another in his concluding season with the Sun Devils. The next target on the agenda is a journey to the big leagues – the NFL.

Macen earnestly anticipates the prospect of playing alongside or against his two brothers once again, hoping that this expectation turns into reality.

“I definitely want to make the NFL I feel like I’m capable of doing it,” Macen said. “I definitely feel like I have the skill set to do so. So, you know that’s what I’m aiming for.”

The world may not be prepared for the day when a trio of Williams brothers takes the field on the NFL stage.

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