Damian's Options

Springdale all-purpose junior Damian Williams (6-2, 190, 4.4) now has seven scholarship offers and more are expected in the future.

It would be very understandable if all of the recent attention he has gotten had gone to Springdale junior star Damian Williams' head.

But that's not the makeup of Williams (6-2, 190, 4.4), who now has offers from Arkansas, LSU, Tennessee, Louisville, Missouri , Iowa and Tulsa and will likely soon have one from Texas, where Springdale junior quarterback Mitch Mustain will visit this weekend for a Junior Day.

Williams will be in Louisiana with Springdale's baseball team this weekend.

"It's a little bit overwhelming, but I don't let it get to me and I know the best way to handle everything is to stay humble," Williams said. "Certainly I am honored, but I also don't see it as that big a deal. I'm one of those guys who doesn't believe his press clippings and just continues to work hard and push it."

Williams is coming off a season where he missed a bit of time due to injury, but still produced plenty of highlights on offense, defense and on in the return game.

He hauled in 31 passes for 545 yards and four touchdowns, rushed for another 137 yards and two touchdowns, returned two kickoffs for an average of 58 yards per return with one TD and also averaged 13.1 on punt returns and took it to the house another time.

"He is such a versatile athlete that can just do so many things on a football field whether it be at wide receiver, running back or at safety," Springdale head coach Gus Malzahn said. "He's getting all these offers because coaches want him on the team and will figure out where he is best suited for later."

Williams is one of six or seven juniors that are considered Division I prospects on a Springdale team that has fallen to two-time Class AAAAA champ Little Rock Central the past two seasons in the playoffs.

This year's loss was a 30-22 one in the semifinals, a loss that has put a spark the Red Bulldogs' offseason workouts.

"That definitely is there in the front of our minds as we push it this offseason," Williams said. "We would have much rather won it all, but it is driving us to get better every day."

Springdale, who finished 12-1 last season, will no doubt be a heavy favorite to win the Class AAAAA state title this season with many of Central's top players moving on.

"There's always pressure to win here, but yes we are going to be expected to do quite well next year," Malzahn said. "This is the group we have been waiting on. All the recruiting attention is a little overwhelming, but they are all handling it well."

Williams couldn't agree more about a team who will begin spring practice on May 9 and who will open its 2005 season against Springdale Evangel at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.

"Our guys are all about the team," Williams said. "We have an amazing unity. Everything we do is about the team and individual glory is just a non-issue."

Springdale will once again play a 7-on-7 schedule this summer, a slate that includes a July 14-15 trip to the campus of USC for a Nike tournament and a return to Hoover, Ala. on July 21-23 to defend their title in the Southeastern Select event.

"It's a great honor to go to the USC one because I think we are the only non-California team invited," Williams said. "I look forward to competing against the best."

Williams is currently playing baseball for Springdale.

"I love both sports," Williams said. "I don't know that I would give up football to play baseball, but it would be fun to play baseball collegiately. But football is my prority right now."

Williams was one of many Springdale players that attended the National Junior Combine in San Antonio, which was run in c onjunction with the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, featuring the nation's top seniors.

"It could have been a little bit more organized because I didn't get out of there until 1:45 (a.m.) or 2 in the morning," Williams said. "But it was fun and seeing the game was exciting. I would love to play in it next year."

He is not yet sure of what camps he will attend this summer because of the 7-on-7 schedule, but does know he and the other Springdale standouts will be visiting Arkansas for a Junior Day.

Williams, who was born in Louisiana, knows there are plenty of Razorback fans who would love to see him sign with Arkansas when it comes time.

"They are certainly one of the teams that I am very interested in," Williams said. "But I want to keep all my options open. Everybody is on equal footing right now and I don't really have a leader."


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