Williams, now a redshirt sophomore from Washington, D.C., had the surgery in Chicago and wore a soft neck brace for a few days.
"Rehab was cool," he said. "No pain, no nothing. Just little exercises to strengthen the neck. Nothing serious."
His neck is stronger, which helps with stability, but the extra 2 inches necessitate a new line of dress shirts.
"It could have been worse," he said. "I told myself when I had the surgery and when I was rehabbing, 'I'm not going to let this break me.' Even in the spring, I was like, 'I'm not going to be scared to hit. I just got a real expensive surgery. I'm going to test it out and see what it's like.'"
He was advised against that and he wasn't allowed to hit hard or tackle throughout the 15 spring practices. Williams did some light contact, what the Mountaineers like to call "thumping," and the rest of the drills that weren't a danger to his recovery.
That recovery came to an end last week when he went 1-on-1 against White and Mathis, an occasion Williams wasn't aware of until trainer Dave Kerns congratulated Williams afterward on his one-year anniversary.
"I was always really thinking about what the pro scouts would think," Williams said. "That's honestly what I thought about, besides the team and being healthy to help my teammates. In the long run, everyone who plays college football wants to be in the league.
"What I was thinking was, 'Will this ruin my chances with pro scouts?' A neck injury is a serious thing. But in my case, it was nothing too major. It's really almost like nothing ever happened."
He's thus far backed up his words with his actions. He's one of just six healthy cornerbacks in practice and Williams had gravitated toward the top of the depth chart late last week. He was enjoying first-team reps until "a bad day" Saturday.
White and sophomore K.J. Myers beat Williams on fade routes.
"My technique wasn't right, which is what ticked the coaches off," Williams said. "It wasn't that they caught the passes. It was more about the technique I used. I was supposed to be first to the ball, but my mind was somewhere else at the time."
Granted, White is the 6-3 junior college transfer who has played arguably better than any other receiver so far, while Myers is 6-2 and 200 pounds and tracking toward the second starting outside spot opposite White. Williams is 5-11 and 185 pounds and, well, coming off a major operation.
"I'm sharp and ready to go," he said. "Not to brag or nothing, but some people, it just comes natural. Some people have got to work on it. Not to brag, but I don't think there's too much rust."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.