One of the top players in the nation lives in the state of Georgia, yet he doesn’t have an offer from the in-state Bulldogs. For talented athlete Juwaan Williams (Tucker, Ga./Tucker), that might change as he recently visited Athens for junior day.
“It went well,” Williams said. “The facilities and campus are beautiful. I had the opportunity to ask questions to some of the players there and it was a good atmosphere all the way around.”
A bright young man, Williams understands the promises and hyperbole of the recruiting trail and he knows the players are a great source of information.
“I asked what it was like there since the coaches can tell you one thing and the players can tell you something different,” Williams said. “And they said as long as I work hard and do the right thing, I will have a great and long-lasting career at UGA.”
Before that career can start, though, Williams needs an offer from the Bulldogs. He already has offers from South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Wake Forest and a host of other schools.
“I will definitely see about that in the near future,” Williams said. “I got a chance to talk to Coach [Rodney] Garner. I got to sit and listen to Mike Bobo talk about how the offense works.”
In the meantime, Williams has several visits planned.
“I have one visit to Georgia Tech tomorrow and then a visit to Vanderbilt on Saturday,” Williams said. “The whole coaching staff at Vanderbilt is great. When I went up there for one of their games, it was a great SEC atmosphere and the whole coaching staff just took me in as one of their own.”
The Yellow Jackets and the Commodores are two of Williams’ top three choices so far. And if the Bulldogs were to offer, they would find him very receptive.
“It would mean a lot. It would really have me thinking about which college to pick,” Williams said. “My three favorites right now are Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and Georgia. My favorite college team was Florida growing up just because I wanted to be a Gator, but as I got older it differed. Now I am a Georgia fan. I was always an SEC fan. I don’t know why, I guess it just caught my attention.”
Georgia converted Williams away from its archrival as he saw a number of friends and teammates head off to Athens.
“It was just the way they got some of my teammates. They just picked up my defensive lineman, Josh Dawson. That was a big pickup for them. Then I watched them over the years. I knew one of the running backs up there, Caleb King, while he was at Georgia,” Williams said. “I know Chris Sanders just recently was dismissed from the team unfortunately. He and I had a great relationship over the past two years before he went to Georgia. It was something terrible that happened to a great player. I hope the best for him. Watching him from the sideline, I was amazed every time he did something in practice or in the game.”
Sanders’ dismissal and King’s failure to remain academically eligible doesn’t hurt Georgia’s standing with Williams.
“Knowing their past and how my other friends have done at Georgia, it doesn’t change my mind,” Williams said. “It just makes me more careful about what I do and who I associate myself with in my process of going to college. They say you meet your best friends in college. I just think that those two met the wrong people or associated with the wrong people.”
Williams has some time before he decides on a peer group, but a more pressing concern is what position the 6-foot-1, 180-pound athlete will play in college, as that will affect his choice.
“Receiver in a spread system or a pro system, but if it is a triple option or a wing-T system, I will play quarterback,” Williams said. “I probably prefer a spread or pro-style offense. That way I could either be a big-play guy or an every-down receiver.”
Last year Williams threw for 557 yards and seven touchdowns. On the ground he picked up 617 yards rushing on just 82 attempts, scoring 11 touchdowns and averaging more than 7.5 yards per carry. He attributes his numbers to being more cerebral than passionate.
“If there is a play needed, I can be the go-to guy,” Williams said. “Or I can come in the huddle, calm everybody down and let the players around me know what is about to happen. I am not the type of guy to get hyped up and jump around. I am more the person you see sitting down, looking at a playbook or looking at my wristband to see what play we are going to run next.”
His success landed him on the ESPNU 150 Watch List for 2013.
“That is a great honor,” Williams said. “I go on there almost every week to see what the updates are and I look at the other players. There is a lot of great talent around.”