A Florida Gator in college, Jarvis Williams was selected to the first team All-SEC in 1986 and recognized as a first team All-American in 1987. Miami drafted him in the second round of the 1988 NFL draft, with the 42nd overall pick.
As a rookie, the hard hitting defensive back started all 16 games at the free safety position. He made 89 tackles, intercepted four passes and recovered three fumbles. In a week six 24-14 victory against the Los Angeles Raiders, Williams picked off two passes. He also contributed by occasionally returning kickoffs and punts. The team finished a disappointing 6-10, the only season from 1977 through 2003 in which the Dolphins finished with a losing record.
In 1989, Williams was moved to the strong side safety position, again starting all 16 games. He finished the year with 87 tackles and two interceptions, both in a week nine victory over the Indianapolis Colt, 19-13. Miami finished with an 8-8 record, again missing the playoffs.
1990 would see Williams again start every Dolphins game at strong safety. He picked off five passes, four of them in two games against the Colts. He also returned a pick for his only career touchdown, in a week 12 loss to the Washington Redskins, 42-20. The team finished 12-4, good enough to earn a wildcard berth in the playoffs. After beating the Kansas City Chiefs, 17-16, the Dolphins bowed out with a 44-34 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Williams was slowed by a shoulder injury in 1991, against the Buffalo Bills on November 18th and only played 11 games, intercepting one pass. The team finished 8-8, missing the playoffs.
Williams picked up again in 1992, starting 10 games and appearing in all 16. He intercepted two passes and recorded 82 tackles. The team finished 11-5, but lost the AFC Championship game to the Buffalo Bills, 29-10.
Williams recorded a career high 118 tackles in 1993, second on the Dolphins only to middle linebacker Brian Cox's 122. He would join the New York Giants for the 1994 season before retiring from professional football.
In six seasons with the Dolphins, Williams started 83 of 91 games. He intercepted 14 passes and recorded 513 tackles.
After the NFL, Williams worked as an assistant high school football coach. He died without warning on May 25th, 2010 of an acute asthma attack.