While growing up in Louisiana, Slidell High three-sport standout Armand Williams dreamed of playing football in the SEC.
But Williams (6-3, 195, 4.5) – a freakish athlete who has a 42-inch vertical jump, is a state champion in the high jump at 6-foot-8, has long jumped nearly 24 feet and is a ferocious dunker on the basketball court - was beginning to think he wasn't going to get the chance.
That changed recently when Bobby Petrino's University of Arkansas program extended an offer, which has him very excited to be taking an official visit to Fayetteville this weekend.
"First of all, I have been following Coach Petrino and his success for a long time," Williams said. "He has had great offensive system that is very explosive, one that has his wide receivers making big plays and getting their opportunity to shine on the national stage. I can't believe there is any wide receiver who wouldn't want to be a part of that."
Williams is expected to join two other Louisiana prospects – UA offensive line commit Luke Charpentier (6-4, 300) of River Ridge John Curtis and Monroe Richwood defensive tackle LaCraig Brown (6-4, 265) – as the only trio of official visitors this weekend.
Williams is excited to meet Razorback starting quarterback Ryan Mallett, who established himself as one of the nation's best passers this season.
"He is such an explosive guy with a great arm that really triggers that offense," Williams said. "I have watched him play several games and just couldn't be more impressed with his arm and his decision making. He is going to make a run at the Heisman Trophy next season and he is going to be the guy instead of (Florida QB) Tim Tebow in the league next season."
Williams has already visited New Mexico and Northern Illinois and currently has a visit set to Memphis in January.
"I went out to New Mexico this past weekend and it was nice," Williams said. "There was an assistant coach that was at LSU that I got to know before he left and he had kept up with me. Now I am just really excited to go check out Arkansas. I know it is going to be as big-time as I think it is."
Williams had around 48 catches for over 400 yards and 6 touchdowns this season after a junior season in which he hauled in 32 receptions for 638 yards and 8 scores.
"I think my biggest strength is the fact that I am big and I catch the ball at the very top of my jump and without allowing the defensive back to get position," Williams said. "I have been very good and not letting the d-backs know it is coming and then just snatching it out of the air.
"I am very fast and can't get deep, but one thing I need to improve on is getting in and out of my breaks better," Williams added. "I know how great the athletes are in the SEC and I think I need to continue to improve and just keep coming in my development by working real hard."
Slidell went 5-5 this season and missed out on the post-season for the first time in four seasons.
"It was tough to not make the playoffs after doing so the past three seasons, but I think this is a year where we really bonded as a team and grew up as men because of the adversity," Williams said. "So when you look at it that way, it makes it a positive growth experience out of something where we did not achieve our goals."
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