All bets off for Juwaan Williams

CLARKSTON, Ga. -- When the scholarship offers started rolling in for Juwaan Williams (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) last year, his parents thought they knew where the versatile athlete was going to wind up. They were so confident in their beliefs that they agreed to place a wager on the outcome.

“At the beginning they had a bet going on what college I was going to,” Williams said. “But now that we have visited different colleges, they have the same mindset as me that we really don’t know where I am going yet. My dad thought I was going to Florida State and my mom thought I was going to Vanderbilt. I think dinner and chores were on the line. Chores, definitely chores.”

The bet has been called off, but his mother and father had correctly picked two of his finalists out of his 17 offers.

“Right now I still have my top five of Oregon, Florida State, Notre Dame, Clemson and Vanderbilt,” Williams said. “I am going to the Florida State game against Florida and then in January I will take my official to Vanderbilt.”

In the end, both of Williams’ parents might be wrong as his first two official visits made quite an impact.

“I just want to see the ins and outs of the universities,” Williams said. “On my last officials I really got a great understanding of the programs at Notre Dame and Oregon and what they do there. I am just trying to compare and contrast between the other three with those two. At Oregon, their academic center stood out to me and then for my dad it was their uniforms and their high level of football. I would say right now Vanderbilt, Oregon and Notre Dame are recruiting me the hardest.”

Williams’ mother could tell that he liked Vanderbilt early in the process.

“Coach [James] Franklin’s philosophy, the great football and a great education, it all just mixes very well there,” Williams said.

His father knew he liked Florida State.

“It is a great program; they have a lot of tradition,” Williams said. “I mean when you say the name Florida State you can think of 10 facts off of the top of your head about their academics and their football. They ship out a whole bunch of athletes to the NFL, but most importantly they play a high level of football on the offensive side and the defensive side. Coach [Jimbo] Fisher down there, he has done a great job.”

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior plays quarterback for Tucker but will play a different position in college.

“Clemson and Oregon want me to play defense -- at cornerback,” Williams said. “Vanderbilt, Notre Dame and Florida State want me to play receiver. I prefer to play receiver but I have been thinking about it back and forth for a good week and a half now that I will get the best opportunity to get on the field early by playing defense. So I am kind of changing my mind to defense.”

The affable Williams said he is not sure which position will get him to the NFL, but he says that is not a concern in his decision.

“That is not my No. 1 goal,” Williams said. “My No. 1 goal is to get my degree and make a living. But if it does present itself, I am not going to be stupid and not take it.”

All bets aside, Williams said his parents will support him wherever he goes.

“My parents will go with me on my officials and my dad is going to be on the football side and my mom is going to be on the academic side,” Williams said. “Then we will come home and talk it out. The ultimate decision is mine.”