GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- William Likely III, one of the top 2013 defensive backs in the state, visited Saturday to watch Florida State defeat Florida 21-7.
For Likely, the visit wasn’t just to watch a rivalry game, it was a chance to assess two teams that he is considering early on in the recruiting process.
“It was cool to see both teams play this rivalry game,” Likely said. “Most the guys played against each other in high school, so it was cool to see the passion from both teams.”
Even though more than 70 prospects attended the game, Likely had a chance to speak with Florida wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill before the game.
“I got to talk to coach (Aubrey) Hill before the game,” he said. “He told me he was staying updated on my season and things like that, and telling me to stay focused and be prepared.”
The 5-foot-8, 170-pound athlete from Belle Glades, Fla., has verbal offers from Florida, Alabama, LSU and Miami, but said he has strong interest in FSU, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Oregon and Tennessee.
Likely plays defensive back, quarterback, wide receiver, returns kicks and sometimes carries the ball as a running back for his Belle Glades Central High School team. Likely said he likes to pattern his game after one of the top defensive backs in college this year.
“I really like Tyrann Mathieu from LSU," he said. "I like how he's just out there, he makes big plays and he plays fast without making mistakes.”
Former Florida All-American wide receiver Reidel Anthony is the offensive coordinator at Glades Central. Anthony said it's not just athletic ability that makes Likely special.
“He has that 'it' factor,” Anthony said. “His football IQ is beyond kids his age.”
Likely has led his team to an undefeated season and on to the third round of the playoffs. Anthony said Likely’s versatility has been a big reason for the team's success.
“He’s one of those kids that comes along every blue moon,” he said. “He plays defensive back, but he’s so athletic he could play quarterback. He plays wide receiver for me. He plays running back for me. He’s like that Peter Warrick type. It doesn’t matter where you line him up. He always makes plays.”
Glades Central has produced many NFL players such as Ray McDonald, Fred Taylor, Santonio Holmes and Louis Oliver, but Anthony thinks Likely has a chance to be special.
“He’s probably going to be one of the top five players to ever come through Glades Central," he said. "He’s that good.”
Likely was diplomatic when asked about having early college leaders, claiming that all schools are even at this point. Anthony, however, thinks there are a few schools that stand out.
“I think his top three are LSU, UF and Miami right now," Anthony said, "but it’s still early on in the process.”