Fayetteville-born restaurateur Nicholas Perkins, the new owner of the Fuddruckers premium hamburger brand, making him the largest franchise owner and the first African American to have total ownership of a national burger business has a soft spot for students whose mental toughness enables them to be academic and athletic standouts.
Which explains why Perkins, 40, a onetime gridiron star at Fayetteville’s E.E. Smith High School, is a big admirer of Fayetteville State University defensive back Joshua Williams. A 6-foot-3, 197-pound FSU senior who plays cornerback, Williams delivered two eye-opening performances to get the Broncos’ 2021 football season under way.
A stat line of 15 tackles, 3 passes defended and a dazzling interception returned for a touchdown resulted in Williams being named CIAA Defensive Back of the Week following the Broncos’ first two games. No slouch in the classroom, Williams is holding down a 3.1 grade point average as he works toward a degree in Management Information Systems.
In light of Williams’ dual-threat capabilities, Perkins agreed to an NIL deal linking Williams’ likeness to a Church’s Chicken restaurant Perkins owns in Fayetteville. The arrangement comes on the heels of an NCAA decision allowing college athletes to benefit from their names and likenesses.
“I’m inspired by bright, highly motived HBCU students like Joshua Williams,” says Perkins, a 2003 FSU graduate who earned a football scholarship but couldn’t play due to a medical condition. Perkins is a lifetime member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, which Williams also belongs to.
“Joshua brings a level of determination and perseverance to the table that just can’t be taught,” Perkins says. “To be honest, in a lot of ways he reminds me of myself.”
About Fuddruckers and Nicholas M. Perkins
On August 6, 2021, entrepreneur and philanthropist Nicholas M. Perkins closed a historic deal to acquire the Fuddruckers restaurant franchise system from Luby’s, Inc., in a transaction valued at $18.5 million. The purchase by Perkins encompasses ownership of the Fuddruckers brand worldwide, to include restaurants in Canada, Mexico, Panama and 85 locations in the United States.