DALLAS, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys selected University of Texas graduate Connor Williams on Friday night with the 50th overall pick in the NFL draft, and while Williams called it a "dream come true," it wasn't always a storybook tale for Williams.
Late last year, Williams penned an emotional letter to his bullies on NFL.com. Believe it or not, the 6 foot 5, 296-pound football player was once the subject of vicious physical and verbal bullying.
"Honestly, I don't know how I could have accomplished what I have so far without your teasing, without your isolation, without your rumor-mongering, your harassment, your beatings, your constant torment," Williams wrote.
Williams laid out multiple instances in which he'd been bullied over his weight and speech impediment, or tricked by people he thought were his friends.
In one incident, Williams said he was invited to sleepover at a classmates home in sixth grade, but his parents had to pick him up in the middle of the night after his classmates beat him up.
Williams said the constant bullying continued until seventh grade when he told his dad he wanted things to be different.
"For years, he was waiting for me to say those words," Williams said. "He had always told me that if I ever wanted to change he would help, but he knew he couldn't force me. He let me come to that conclusion on my own."
With the help of his dad, Williams committed himself to early morning workouts and later joined a YMCA basketball team. He said he began seeing changes in his body and in the way people saw him.
In a matter of four years, Williams said he went from being the kid that was bullied in middle school to the cool guy on campus, amassing 36 scholarship offers from major universities by his junior year of high school.
"(Being bullied) built me in ways unimaginable," Williams said. "I am thankful I was the kid being bullied, and not the bully."
From humility to treating others with respect, Williams listed the many things being bullied taught him.
"If your torment was something I had to go through to be where I'm now, then it was all worth it," Williams said.
Williams dropped to one knee in tears when he got the call from the Cowboys Friday night.