Incoming Arizona Freshman Overcame all odds, earns Full Ride


When University of Arizona freshman Melvin Williams (Mell) puts his mind to something, there is no stopping him.

Lemel Williams tweet came across our feed this morning courtesy of former Arizona Basketball forward, Ray Smith. Smith has a heart of gold, and he just keeps proving it over and over again.

Williams has overcome so much adversity in his young life, he now that he has come out of some of the most difficult years, he can look forward to his collegiate career. One thing he would love to do in college is possibly walk on as an Arizona Track and Field sprinter. Once you hear his story, you’ll understand why you cannot count out this Wildcat.

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Mell did not have the happiest of childhoods. His mother was gunned down in his front yard when he and his fraternal twin brother Tyrell, were just 15 years old. Williams also has a little sister who he still speaks with twice a week.

The three of them were locked up in a room when the rest of the family would go out at times. They could not get out of the room. It was frightening for them. Something he still hasn’t quite gotten over.

Their dad had married a woman with two children of her own, and the two had two more children together. That makes seven children total. Williams, his brother and their sister were fed two bologna sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Mell cannot eat bologna ever again, “I hate it too much!”

As Williams tells it, his father and step-mom pushed him to work and stay out of the house as much as possible. His sister moved in with their aunt in North Carolina, and his brother, who had to move out first, moved in with a friend. That left Mell.

Things got pretty bad at home; it seemed Mell could do nothing right. His parents were urging him to graduate high school early and join the armed forces to get him out of the house. But Mell wanted to continue his high school career, work on improving his GPA, and to apply to colleges in Arizona. The last thing he wanted to do was join the armed forces.

All the while, their parents collected social security from his moms passing for all three kids, and the only money Mell had in is pocket, he earned.

One night Mell arrived home at night, not having an agreed time with his parents that night, the miscommunication ended in dad threatening his son that he was about to kick him out. “Where would you go if I told you that you had to leave the house tonight?” asked his father. Lucky for Mell, his good friend JP Salazar, he and Salazar’s parents accepted him into their home for his senior year.

Mell left the house that night with a backpack, and that was it! His parents did not let him come back to the house to get the rest of his things. Williams had to run track in his vans as he could not afford cleats. He feels he did well, even though with a little training help and some cleats, he feels he could compete.

Mell applied to get the social security checks from his mothers passing, to be sent to his new home and his siblings. It was a success. He worked hard to bring his GPA up to 3.8, and he graduated from Shadow Ridge High School in Surprise, Arizona.

Mell was so proud, he got into all four colleges! He tried texting his father to share the news that he was accepted by all four colleges he applied too. But he got no response. A few months earlier he tried to text his dad Happy Birthday, and to no avail, he got no response that time either. He finally got a text back with a meme that alluded to what his dad thought of him. It wasn’t nice, it wasn’t forgiving, it wasn’t a proud tweet. Williams Senior sent a meme that told his son that he had not yet earned his manhood to get any respect from a father.

Arizona Wildcats Football
Arizona Wildcats Football /

Arizona Wildcats Football

So Mell moved forward, thinking of how proud his mom would have been. He started the process by filing the FASFA forms for financial aid, and since he had no parents to speak of, he had to fill out extra forms.

First, he spoke to Grand Canyon University, but was ultimately  turned off, because they could not explain why their school was better than the other three.

Then he talked to Northern Arizona University. If you can believe it, Williams did not qualify for any scholarships at NAU or loans. His high school friends did, they had parents too. He didn’t get it, so onto school number three, Arizona State University.

ASU, you would think, would have been happy to have such a strong-willed and smart young man. But not ASU, it was the first school he applied too and the last one to send him an acceptance letter. That was a huge turn off to Williams.

That left the fourth school, the best school, the University of Arizona.

Arizona’s finance office was tremendous. Arizona understood Williams had no parents and no money. They gave him a full ride! Not only that, he will be helping other students move into their dorms. He cannot wait to move to Tucson, and wanted to get in early. He will attend orientation on June 30th and is so excited. Hands down they treated him like they wanted him and made it so he could fulfill his dreams.

Williams took to Twitter to share his story, to tell his family and the world how successful he has been against all the odds. The tweet got 742 replies, 44,000+ retweets, and 214,000+ likes. He also got a cool response from Wildcat Ray Smith.

The Twitter-verse spoke to Lamel loud and clear, and he is cared for because it takes a village sometimes. Quite a few of the people who responded to him suggested that he start a GoFundMe page, that they would donate to his college career. Others gave him props, love, and encouragement.

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Never count Lamel Williams out of any race. We hope he gets his shot to try out for the Track and Field team, but whatever happens, we know he will be successful in his chosen major and career, Criminal Justice. Williams wants to spend his life protecting other children who are going through what he had to go through. Don’t you just want to hug this brand new Wildcat? WELCOME TO TUCSON LAMEL! Bear Down gazillion times!

Mell’s GoFundMe page –> HERE