JC defensive tackle takes in ASU practice

The Sun Devils' desire to land the state's top talent in the 2011 class isn't limited just to high school players. Arizona Western's Jesse Williams is a highly coveted defensive tackle who aside from ASU has landed offers from all across the nation. The Australian native visited Tempe unofficially last Thursday and talked to Devils Digest about his recruitment with ASU.

The 6-4 340 Jesse Williams recorded 46 tackles, 6.5 TFLs and 3.5 sacks for the Matadors in 2009, and was named 1st team All-ACCAC. Even though Australian Rules football and Rugby are far more popular sports than American football in Australia, Williams really took to the later sport and won back to back National Championships with the Queensland Sun Devils in 2006 and 2007.

"I played Rugby in high school but when Arizona Western was looking at me I was already played two years of American football," recalled Williams. "I took a year off after I finished high school because I was working. I actually just played basketball that year. The coaches at Arizona Western saw me play in a game and wanted me to come and play for them. I couldn't get a scholarship to play for a JC in California but I could get one at Arizona Western so that's why I chose them and things have really worked out for me there."

The humble Williams admitted that he was surprised by his instant success with the Matadors and the heavy recruiting attention that ensued as a result of his play.

"I think I just felt comfortable with the team and the players here and that obviously helped me a lot," commented Williams. "Playing Australian Rules football, Rugby and basketball helped me too, but in the end it all comes down to how much you want to be successful, and I worked very hard every day to achieve that.

"I'm new to the recruiting process and it has definitely been a shock to me how many schools have been recruiting and contacting me. I never thought I would get as many offers as I have right now. I'm very appreciative of that and just taking everything into consideration. Hopefully I make the right decision in the end."

Alabama, BYU, Iowa, Oregon State, West Virginia, Iowa State, Mississippi State and San Diego State are just a few of the dozen plus scholarship offers that the four-star prospect has received. The defensive tackle is a three for two player who is on track to be a mid-year transfer and sign a letter of intent in December, which naturally makes him even a hotter commodity among the 2011 defensive tackle prospects.

Williams bench presses 520 pounds and lists his speed at the low 5.0s. "My strength and my speed are my strong skills," said Williams of his attributes. "But I know I need to get even stronger and faster than I am now. I only been seriously lifting since I was 17 and I know I can get better at that. I'm also working very hard now on my technique and how I'm using my hands."

Arizona State's defensive coordinator Craig Bray offered Williams a scholarship a couple of weeks ago. The defensive tackle took advantage of his spring break along with an offensive coaching clinic held at ASU to join his Arizona Western coaching staff and make the two-hour trek to Tempe to visit the Sun Devils for the very first time.

"I enjoyed that visit," said Williams. "They have great facilities and I met a lot of nice people there. I went to their practice it was very organized. They obviously do things different there than we do in Yuma. I also got to sit in the defensive line meeting and see what kind of scheme they run. I think I would fit in there and that's something I would take in consideration before I make my decision. They run a 4-3 and said they could be running a 3-4 too and I know I can play well in both systems. They have a great defense and I love how they run the stunts on the defensive line."

"This was my first unofficial to any school and now I have something to measure the other visits I'm going to take. I'm very happy I had a chance to check them out because I heard a lot of good stuff about them and I saw for myself that they are a very good program. Being that I'm so close to (ASU) my coaches don't think that they were going to let me out of their grasp and they have been recruiting me very hard."

Williams acknowledged that the relative proximity of ASU to Arizona Western, in comparison to his other suitors, is an aspect that is appealing to him. Nonetheless, he's far from formulating a short list of preferred schools.

"To be honest all schools are even right now," stated Williams. "I'm really not in a position to make a decision. I'm looking for a great area, great weather, a school that offers good education and a program that I can contribute to right away and Arizona State is obviously a good school that meets all those criteria. So I'm definitely looking at them very seriously right now. It's a school where I can come and check out very easily and the coaches can come up just as easily to visit me.

"But I obviously want to look at other schools and see what they have to offer."

The defensive tackle added that San Diego State is the only other school that he has an unofficial visit planned to. "I'm going to spend part of summer in Australia talking to my family about my recruiting," explained Williams, "and then I'm going to decide which schools I'm going to officially visit in the fall. I want to do some more research on the other schools that I'm looking at. "

While there has been an influx of Polynesian players in both the college football and NFL ranks, indigenous Australians, such as Williams, have been rarely seen in those leagues.

Furthermore, any Australian players (mainly non-indigenous in their heritage) found in those leagues are usually punters and kickers. Thus, Williams whose favorite NFL player is defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, knows that playing Division I let alone professionally are for the most part uncharted waters in many aspects.

"Even I punted and kicked for the teams I played for back home," said Williams. "For Australian players it comes very natural. I played some offensive tackle, tight end and running back, but defensive tackle is the position I play the best. That's the position my coaches back home and here at Arizona Western think I would have the most success in and that appeals to me the most."

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