It was a busy day for 2014 Eagles Landing Christian Academy defensive end Andrew Williams.
The Peach State standout hosted coaches from four different schools on Friday, and one of those schools didn't leave without giving him a piece of good news.
"There were coaches from a few schools there like Clemson, South Carolina, Ohio State, and Georgia," Williams said of his busy day. "Then one-by-one, I took turns talking to all of them. Then Coach (Chris) Wilson was talking to me saying, 'I watched the film and you are just what we need.' It was cool. After he left, my defensive coordinator, Coach (Derek) Chastain, informed me that Georgia had offered. He (Chastain) is a big Georgia guy, so he was excited about it."
Getting an offer from an in-state school often means different things to different prospects, but this one was a little different for Williams.
He had his doubts as to whether or not it would ever happen.
"The in-state offer means that I can have an opportunity to represent my state, and what not," he said. "It means a lot now because I had the chance to go to two camps at Georgia without them offering with Coach (Rodney) Garner in there. I felt like, 'Man, I can't even play for my home state.' I was going through that, and as soon as Garner left, Coach Wilson got right back on me. I feel like that is amazing. I like it. I love it. I love it that Coach Wilson is there now."
While Williams is disappointed that Garner didn't offer him while he was at Georgia, the four-star defensive end holds no grudges and is happy to be starting over with Wilson.
"I feel like held my own (at Georgia camps)," Williams said. "No offense to Coach Garner. He is a great coach that sent multiple great defensive linemen to the league, but I guess he didn't see in me what he saw in his defensive lineman. No hard feelings, but during the camps like Dawg Night, I feel like I did great at both and still didn't get an offer. Now that Coach Wilson is there, he sees what I've got, believes in me, he has watched my film, and it shows a lot for him to come up here and offer me. It shows me a lot about the difference between the two coaches."
Georgia just offered on Friday, but Williams says that the Bulldogs, along with a slew of other schools, are among those that are recruiting him with the most fervor at this time.
The Rivals250 junior will be the first to acknowledge, however, that he never saw all of this attention on the horizon early in his football career.
"Georgia, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida, Ohio State, South Carolina, FSU, Texas, and a whole bunch of schools are coming after me hard. They are kind of pouring in now," he said. "It is such a blessing. I'm seeing that hard work pay off. God gifted me with natural ability and I had no idea in the ninth grade that I would have schools like Georgia and FSU and all these schools coming after. It is really amazing."
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound prospect also gives a lot of credit to former and current teammates for helping him become the player that schools all over the country are pursuing heavily.
"I've learned the do's and don'ts from a bunch of great defensive ends at my school," he said. "Guys like Tanner Rogers (Charleston Southern), Justin Thomason (North Carolina), and Isaac (Rochell) (Notre Dame commitment). I've just been soaking in all the do's and don'ts and listening to what coaches tell them about how to compete so I am not doing the wrong things and doing the right things."
The first weekend in February usually signals the start of junior days for big time schools all over the country.
According to Williams, things will start to get hectic for him right away.
"February 2 is a busy day. I had planned on going to South Carolina, but Coach (Marion) Hobby and Coach (Dan) Brooks (of Clemson) came at me really hard about coming there on the second. It is between those two on February 2," Williams said. "I'm going to Georgia on February 16. I'm going to Florida, FSU, and Ohio State after that when I can."
As soon as he finishes seeing the campuses of his choice, Williams plans on getting to work on making a decision about where he will play his college ball.
"After these select few junior days, I'll start to get an idea of who is really into me and who is not and what I feel like at the school," he said. "The ones I'm getting invites to tell me a lot about the school, and I plan on narrowing it down after this and I'll probably make a decision sometime before my senior season."
As a big-time pass rusher, Williams is in a position that more defensive ends are finding themselves in these days. Schools that run the 4-3 and want him to play defensive end, and schools that run the 3-4 and want him at outside linebacker are recruiting the McDonough native.
Williams does a little of both at ELCA depending on the situation, but says his comfort level in either role could have a sizeable effect on his decision going forward.
"That's a big thing that is going to weigh heavy on me," he said. "Some schools want me as that heavy rush linebacker guy, and most schools want me with my hand down as a true defensive end. Right now I have no preference, but that is a big thing to consideration. Do I want to play my natural defensive end or play that rush linebacker? I get to rush from a two point stance on third down some now and it's a situation where its like 'go get the quarterback' and I love it. So we will see."
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