Cruz-ing to Arkansas

Pulaski Academy's Cruz Williams (6-4, 195, 4.4) talks about his announcement Friday morning that he is going to play his college football for the University of Arkansas and how he will now try to lead his Arkansas Kings' AAU team to a basketball state title this weekend.

Pulaski Academy two-sport standout Cruz Williams (6-4, 195, 4.4) has always had a simple philosophy when it comes to recruiting.

"Arkansas boys should stay in Arkansas," Williams said.

Williams put his money where his mouth is on Friday morning when he announced that he would be playing his college football for the University of Arkansas.

"I stayed up all night last night thinking about it and there was just no reason to wait any longer to announce this," Williams said. "It has always been my dream to be a Razorback and now I am going to be one. It feels great."

Williams called Arkansas assistant coach Danny Nutt Friday morning to let him know.

"He was very excited about it," Williams said.

Now Williams will go to work on getting his buddy Joe Adams (6-1, 170, 4.3), the talented wideout from Central Arkansas Christian, to join him at Arkansas.

"I have wished him well with his decision and he did the same with me, but we have always talked about playing our college football together," Williams said. "I hope that happens."

The announcement - which gives Arkansas four commitments for 2008 - is just part of a busy week for Williams.

In addition to practicing with his Arkansas Kings squad for this weekend's 17-and-under AAU state basketball tournament in Little Rock, he's also going through spring football practices.

Those practices have seen folks like University of Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt and others from Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, USC and Tulsa looking on.

"It's been busy, but a lot of fun, too," Williams said. "I just try to keep my mind on each sport at its different time."

Williams caught 57 passes for 1,158 yards and 18 touchdowns last season for the Bruins, who fell to Greenwood 56-55 in the state title game.

He has always been upfront about his interest in Arkansas and was very appreciative of Nutt showing up at his practice.

"Whenever Arkansas came down so early it showed me a lot and how much they want me," Williams said. "I really appreciate it and they have made it clear to me how important I am to them. They have big plans for me."

Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Mississippi State and Georgia Tech who all offered as well as Ole Miss while USC and Michigan had also showed a great deal of interest.

"Oklahoma State came by on Tuesday, Tulsa on Wednesday and USC and Michigan have also come to watch us practice like Arkansas," Williams said. "There are some other schools that are calling my coach, but those are the main ones right now."

Playing basketball and competing in 7-on-7 football tournaments in Searcy (June 1-2), the Shootout of the South in Little Rock (June 15-16) and CACs in Little Rock on June 30 doesn't leave a lot of extra time.

But Williams knows he is definitely going to take in one summer football camp.

"I am definitely coming back to the Razorback camp next month (June 10-13) and going to do my thing," Williams said.

This weekend his focus is on basketball as the AAU State tournament gets underway Friday night with pool play and runs through the championship game on Sunday.

The Kings are one of 14 teams competing in the state tournament at Little Rock Central and McClellan high schools and Shorter College.

The Kings, which also feature CAC wideout and Williams' buddy Joe Adams, join the Northwest Arkansas All-Stars and Northwest Arkansas Cavs in Pool A.

The 16-and-under Arkansas Wings (Parker), Fast Break USA and Blytheville Steelers comprise Pool B.

In Pool C, the Arkansas Wings (Robinson) will battle the Arkansas Hawks, the Southwest City Bulls and D.C. Express.

Pool D has the Northwest Arkansas Wings, Team Arkansas, CSAC Eagles and the Arkansas Spirits.

"We have won a state title in our age division for like six years in a row," Williams said. "We think we can do it again."

Williams will be going up against two Pulaski Academy teammates this weekend in quarterback Spencer Keith and Neil Barlow, who play for the 16-and-under Wings.

"There's been a lot of talk about it at football practice this week," Williams said. "They are very good, but I think we will take them if we play them."


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