Four Star Tackle Watching Duke Closely

When your program has struggled as much as the Blue Devils have in recent memory, it's going to make recruiting top talent very difficult. However, if head coach David Cutcliffe and his staff can push Duke to several victories in 2008, it's likely many top players will take notice. Including the nation's 16th best offensive tackle.

"Right now I'm getting a handle on the recruiting process," says West Roxbury, Mass. Catholic Memorial standout Brennan Williams. "I've got a top six of Boston College, Duke, Maryland, Michigan, Virginia, and Wake Forest, and I am focusing on those six so I can really look into those schools more and more. I'm not ruling anyone out, but I have an idea of where I want to go and those six give me a chance to really find out what I need to."

Standing 6'6 and tipping the scales at 270lbs, Williams is rated as the nation's 16th best offensive tackle prospect and a four star prospect by

"As a tackle I think my strengths are that I get off the ball pretty quickly, and I have pretty good footwork and hand-speed. I know I need to add some weight right now because I'm kind of light, but that will come."

Each of the six schools has a unique approach and appeal to Williams, including the Blue Devils who seem to stick out a bit on a list of schools that has enjoyed varying degrees of success over the past few years.

"I visited Duke recently and I really like their coaching staff. I have some prior connections there because my dad played with Coach Hobby, so that helps. On the visit I had a chance to really get a feel for the school, and it was a really good feeling. Sometimes you go to a school and you just can't see yourself there. That's not the case with me at Duke. I can certainly see myself there."

Still, the Blue Devils' tradition doesn't measure up to the other schools. So why would they jump into a final list for such a top target?

"Duke is kind of a wildcard right now. They haven't been as successful in football as the other programs, but now they have a new coaching staff, a new recruiting class, and a fresh approach. I want to see what they can do with it. If they can start to really take steps and start to win that will be a big factor for me. If they don't then that will also be a big factor for me. I don't want to go to a program that's not winning or legitimately on the path to winning."

Each of other schools also has their appeal for Williams:

Boston College: I've been around BC for most of my life. I've camped there for the last five or six years, so there is a familiarity aspect there. I'm very aware of their team, their history, and what the school offers.

Maryland: I also visit there over Spring Break. I like the campus, even though it's a bigger school it's like a big small school. You can walk wherever you need to.

Michigan: My dad is from there and from the first time I picked up a football I've had Michigan drilled into my head. I think I still have the Michigan football hat he gave me at age seven.

Virginia: They are one of the first schools to show interest in me. Aside from Boston College I've been to UVa more than any other school - for visits and recruiting events. I really like their campus as well.

Wake Forest: Another one I visited over Spring Break. The coaching staff was great. They really have a plan for me and I could see myself there as well.

With six distinct options, and a desire to "focus" on each school, is there a particular recipe Williams' to come up with a choice?

"It's going to be a combination of things. When this all started I was sure I wanted to go to a bigger school, but now I am thinking I prefer a smaller one. I also know that academics are going to be one of, if not the biggest factor for me. As far as playing time goes, each of the schools are telling me I could come in and play early, but it's kind of hard to do when you're a 270 pound freshman and they have 310 pound fifth year seniors."

"As far as distance goes, I don't want to get too far from home, but I want to get somewhat away. The main thing with a school is going to be how do I see myself there. If football ends for whatever reason, I'm going to be there for at least five years of my life, and I need to make sure I'm comfortable."

Even though he's holding more than 15 written offers, Williams says he's content to have narrowed his list down to these six programs as part of his overall approach to the recruiting process.

"I think the most important thing for me has been to stay organized with everything. It can get really hectic really fast with all the schools coming in to recruit you. I've got all kinds of charts and lists that I keep to help get me through this for everything from visits to doing interviews. It's important to be organized so that you make sure you do what you need to do."

Williams, who reports a best forty time of 4.9 seconds, says he isn't completely sure of a major yet but may be leaning towards either computer science, animation, or web design. He plans to continue to focus on his six choices and will make a decision after his senior season.

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