Damian Williams to Arkansas

Arkansas' recruiting class goes over the top with Springdale wideout Damian Williams (6-1, 180, 4.4) deciding to decommit from Florida to stay home and play for the Razorbacks.

SPRINGDALE — When London Crawford switched his commitment from LSU to Arkansas earlier in the day Monday, many Arkansas fans immediately started to wonder if Springdale's Damian Williams was next.

It had long been rumored that Crawford, Williams and Shreveport Evangel's Ramon Broadway were a package deal.

By Monday afternoon, two of the three had given commitments to the Razorbacks, as Williams announced his decision at an evening press conference at Springdale High.

When the wide receiver walked into the room at Springdale's field house, his clothing quickly gave away what many already knew — Williams was going to be a Razorback.

Williams strolled in with a dark red sweater and a red wrist band on.

"After much consideration, my parents and I have decided that I'll be playing football for coach (Houston) Nutt and the University of Arkansas Razorbacks," Williams said before being drowned out by cheering in the room.

Williams had been committed to Florida since early August, but in recent weeks his commitment to the Gators had come into question.

He said Monday that he didn't make his decision until about 8:30 p.m. Sunday night.

Williams met Nutt at the Broyles Center about 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

"I thought coach Nutt was going to have a heart attack," he said. "He was pretty excited. I've never seen a college coach jump up and down before. It was pretty exciting."

Friday, Florida coaches visited Williams in his house. The next day, Arkansas' coaches took their final shot at luring Williams away from the Gators.

"(Florida) did nothing wrong in the recruiting process," Williams said. "They're a great program."

Williams is ranked the No. 8 receiver in the country by Scout.com.

The commitment gives Arkansas four of the "Springdale Five" and the second to change his commitment from Florida to Arkansas.

Earlier this month, Springdale tight end Ben Cleveland switched his commitment away from Florida and decided to stay close to home.

Wide receiver Andrew Norman and quarterback Mitch Mustain are also committed to the Razorbacks. Mustain initially committed along with Norman before their senior season began, but reconsidered his commitment after helping lead Springdale to a Class AAAAA state title.

Mustain eventually decided to remain committed to the Razorbacks.

Williams and his other former Springdale teammates will be plenty familiar with the offensive system at Arkansas as Gus Malzahn, the former Springdale coach, was hired in December as Arkansas' offensive coordinator. Malzahn vowed to bring his hurry-up, no-huddle offense to Fayetteville.

"After talking to coach Malzahn and coach Nutt and coach (Alex) Wood they've done a great job the last couple weeks just getting in the home and explaining their program," Williams said. "They've done a great job and it comes down to the people that you know and I know that coach Malzahn's going to take care of me next year."

With Williams on board, the Razorbacks have 25 players committed, with signing day just days away. Wednesday is the first day of the signing period.

Malzahn and new passing game coordinator Alex Wood appear to be making a big impact on this recruiting class, as six receivers are among the 25 commits.

Williams said the hiring of Malzahn and Wood played a big part in him reconsidering his decision to play at Florida.

"I think that showed great strides in improving the program and I think that was probably the major turning point," Williams said.

As a senior, Williams had a 2,253 yards of total offense and 38 touchdowns — 24 receiving, 10 rushing, three on punt returns and one interception return. He had 1,495 yards on 63 catches.

In the state championship game, Williams capped his career with 157 yards and three touchdowns on six catches, earning Most Valuable Player honors in the Red'Dogs state title win over West Memphis.


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