Recruiting Taking Off For 2016 O-Lineman

Big Class of 2016 offensive tackle Jonah Williams talks from California about his championship season, the recruiting process, what he likes about Auburn and more.

Folsom, Calif.--Making the move across the country from the suburbs of Atlanta to the West Coast, 2016 offensive lineman Jonah Williams wasn’t sure what to expect at Folsom High other than being part of a winning program.

The 2014 season became all that Williams could have hoped for and more as his team dominated the opposition from start to finish on the way to the a perfect 16-0 season and the CIF Division I state title, doing so with a 68-7 win over previously unbeaten Oceanside in the finals.

While record-setting quarterback Jake Browning gets much of the accolades, and rightfully so, for his part in the wins after throwing for 91 touchdowns this year, up front Folsom was dominant and Williams was one of the reasons why. Playing offensive tackle and also playing some defense, the 6-5, 270 Williams said the season was as much fun as you can have playing the game of football.

“It was a blast,” Williams said. “Moving to Folsom in January I knew we had a good squad. I just saw them as teammates and didn’t really see them as dominant starters or whatever. We trained really hard the whole spring and summer. Our playbooks seemed genius to me, but I didn’t really know any better at the time.

“To get out on the field and see how hard work pays off, the work in the film room and in the weight room, I put in a lot of work doing stadiums, flipping tires and pushing sleds, it was cool to see that come through. We just dominated at the line of scrimmage and I was really proud of that.”

The hard work is already paying off for Williams as Arizona, Arizona State, California, Utah, Washington and Washington State have offered early with more surely to follow once teams get a chance to see him on film. A powerful blocker with great feet and balance, he has the look and demeanor of a franchise left tackle prospect down the road, but for him it’s all about keeping things in perspective.

“It’s really incredible,” Williams said of the early offers. “I always look at offers as a blessing. I never want to be a person that wants to rack up offers. I think each individual offer is an incredible opportunity. I don’t really think of them numerically, I think all of the offers I have right now are quality and I would love to keep getting quality offers like that in the future.

"More than anything it’s really great to see," he adds. "My family sacrifices a lot for my dream and just countless hours in the weight room or the stadiums early in the morning, to really see that rewarded has been pretty incredible. It’s probably the most satisfying in that regard.”

Jonah Williams

While he currently resides in Pac 12 country, Williams is an SEC kid at heart after growing up in and around the Atlanta metro area. With a dad who graduated from Georgia and a mother that graduated from Auburn, he said the idea of playing football back in the South is definitely something he would consider if the opportunity presents itself.

“I do hear from and communicate on occasion with a few SEC schools, but I don’t hear from them very much,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s really a geographical thing or not. I will certainly be sending my film down there and try to work with connections we might have and look around down there. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a lot of personal contact from them.”

One of the colleges he said he definitely wants to hear from is Auburn. Making a visit to the Plains to see the campus and city over the summer, Williams said he keeps a close eye on what the Tigers are doing on the field. He especially likes watching Gus Malzahn’s offensive attack and the work up front by Coach J.B. Grimes’ offensive line.

“I think it’s incredible,” Williams said of Auburn’s offense. “Every time I watch a college football game I always watch the O-Line. I think what they are doing there is great.

"I know they are a run-first team, but they have so many weapons on that team. It’s really incredible to watch. Even though we lost the Iron Bowl I really thought the offense was impressive, especially at the end of the first half. They really kept a talented and tough Alabama defense kind of guessing. You wouldn’t think that so much with Auburn a hard-nosed, run the ball type of team. They really had them on their heels and second-guessing. Seeing that was cool to me and it would be something fun to be a part of.”

First things first, he’ll have to get an offer from the Tigers. While it hasn’t happened yet, Williams said if he’s fortunate enough to get that news it would be a very happy day for him and his family.

“That would be crazy,” Williams said of possibly getting an offer from Auburn. “I know my mom would take me out somewhere nice for dinner. It would mean a lot to me. Growing up my mom went to Auburn and it’s really in our blood. I like to think that I have no geographical necessity on where I want to go, but as far as family goes and connections and where I’m from and my comfort in that area, it would certainly mean a lot to hear from Auburn and potentially pick up an offer.”

Planning to take his time before narrowing his list and making a decision, Williams said he wants to visit schools on the West Coast and also in the Southeast before starting to formulate a list of favorites. Before that happens however it’s back to work as he has plans to get bigger and stronger before next season so he can take his game to another level. That could be bad news for opponents who got their first taste of Williams this season.

“I have always been a hard worker,” Williams said. “I started working out every day in seventh grade and I haven’t skipped a day since. When I moved to Folsom I was pretty raw. The coaches saw that and they saw the potential in me. I have to give it to the coaches, they are probably the best coaches I have ever been around. They really honed me down and took my talent and work ethic and turned it into a player that is great for their system.

“I’m really happy with how the season turned out. In Atlanta we ran the ball a lot and they kept that in me, kind of hard-nosed, but also adding more technique with better footwork and knowing how to pass-block effectively. I think all those things were great additions to my toolbox that I picked up through some really incredible coaching this past year.”

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