ORONO — Now in his third season with the University of Maine football team, Jacob Williams again finds himself with a new role.

“Third year here, third different position,” Williams said during Tuesday’s team media day activities.

Williams, a Mt. Blue High School graduate, is playing tight end/H-back for the Black Bears. Last season, the 6-foot, 210-pound Williams was a running back. In 2015, Williams spent a redshirt season practicing at linebacker for the Black Bears.

“He’s a strong kid, so we’ve got to figure out how to get him into a spot where he can compete on special teams. That’s the majority of his role this year,” Maine head coach Joe Harasymiak said of how he expects to use Williams this season. “For him, it’s just about competing on special teams right now.”

Williams was happy to make the position change.

“Last year when I went to running back, it was more to get familiar with the offense, and I had to gain some weight to really get into the fullback position,” Williams said. “Now I’m excited to be in the position where I finally feel like I can help the team out the most.”

The Black Bears averaged four yards per rushing attempt and 140.5 yards per game on the ground last season. Harasymiak hopes Williams can develop into a player who can block and help Maine keep the run game moving.

“He’s bigger. He’s heavier. We need guys like that who can block, and he’s physical. We just feel like he’s got a better chance to compete there for a spot right now rather than running back,” Harasymiak said.

A running back in high school, Williams said learning the tight end position hasn’t been difficult.

“Instead of following the blocker, I am the blocker now. That’s the only difference, really. I enjoy the physicality of it. That’s where I think I can excel at my game,” Williams said.

Over the next few seasons, whether or not Williams excels at his new position will play out on the practice field, and eventually in games. One place Williams already excels is the classroom. A Dean’s List student majoring in Mechanical Engineering, Williams was a Colonial Athletic Association academic all-conference selection last season. Playing football helped Williams focus on his studies.

I think football actually helps with the workload, because you only have a certain amount of free time. In that free time, you have to do your homework,” Williams said. “If you don’t have any busy time, you can say, oh I’ll do it later. With football, you have to do it now.”

Williams credits teammate Michael Supp, a former tight end now playing offensive line for the Black Bears, as being an academic inspiration. Like Williams, Supp is a Mechanical Engineering major. Supp also is a CAA all-academic athlete.

“He’s a little bit of a role model for me. He’s a good example,” Williams said of Supp.

Maine opens the season on Aug. 31 at the University of New Hampshire. The Black Bears first home game is Sept. 9, a non-conference game against Bryant University.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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