Family atmosphere leads to Sun Devil pledge

There are many aspects that can lure a prospect to make a verbal commitment, but one that occasionally gets overlooked are the relationships formed between the player and his future teammates and coaches. It was that factor that led Mira Mesa (Calif.) athlete Damien Williams to a verbal commitment at the conclusion of his visit to Tempe.

"I loved everything about this visit," said the 6-0 205 Damien Williams. "Especially the people. Everyone I met, the players, the coaches were so welcoming. I have a great relationship with Coach Bryce (Erickson). I didn't want to go a team where people don't get along. I wanted to go to a place where you can tell everyone likes each other and that's how I felt on the visit.

"The campus, the facilities were all beautiful. I really liked the freshmen dorms and how close they are to the practice field and the stadium. I also did a lot of eating I can tell you that (laughs)."

Williams was hosted by Kevin Ozier who is a former Mira Mesa teammate and a current walk-on on Arizona State's squad.

In his senior year, Williams had the third highest rushing yards total in the San Diego area with 2,287. He averaged 9.9 yards a carry and scored 24 touchdowns for the Marauders who finished 7-5 losing in the second round of the playoffs.

Nonetheless, Williams said that the Sun Devils are recruiting him as athlete. As a defensive back he collected 39 tackles this past season, along with two interceptions and three pass deflections. On special teams he averaged 26.9 yards per kick return.

"Wherever the coaches need me on the field that's where I'll be," Williams remarked. "As a running back I got the tough two yards inside or break off a run outside. On defense I was fast enough to cover the pass but I could also stop the run.

"But I know that college is no joke and I need to get stronger and faster to play at that level."

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