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He's had a love of football since his mother made him play the game at a young age. Now, Tre Williams can write his own ticket to wherever he wants to go to play the game he loves. The Mobile (AL) St. Paul's Episcopal middle linebacker seems to have his priorities straight as he nears his last season of high school football.

It is a long way from the beginning for Tre Williams. The 6-2, 225 pound linebacker from the deep south had to first push himself to love the game he now plays so well, then he had to push himself to become the best he can be. The nation's number one middle linebacker according to had 113 tackles, 4 sacks and an interception as a junior and can thank his mother for getting him to this point.

"My mom put me in little football when I was four," Williams said by phone late Thursday night. "I didn't want to play because of the contact and the speed, but my mom really wanted me to play sports because she thought I would be good. In the next couple of years I came to love it."

His perspective changed drastically as does the perspective of anyone between the ages of four and six years old and now you just can't take the game out of Williams.

"I just love football so much now," he said. "Ever since then I have been working. I got to middle school and they started pushing me. The coach told me he saw something in me. I didn't know what it meant because I was young.

"In high school, my coach told me it was an all-new level so I needed to get stronger or I wouldn't survive. That really pushed and motivated me and ever since then my love for football grew more and more."

As a freshman in high school, Williams had something happen to him that would be an irreversible ego inflator to most. A big-time program offered him a scholarship to play football, he was 14 years old.

"When I got that first offer from Florida State I didn't think I was good enough but I guess I was," he said. "That motivated me because my coach told me if I didn't stay humble the offer will go away. I was already excited about the offer and he told me I couldn't stop playing and that the offer didn't mean anything. It just means they know about me.

"Ever since then I knew I had to get better. I wanted to become number one. Not only the number one football player, but number one teammate, leader,. Staying humble, in the classroom, everything.

"I have worked hard at being a leader. The talent is there but I have to keep working at it. My family kept motivating me and they keep me in line, so here I am."

The one constant you will find with Williams is that he works hard, and he works hard at everything. He's tall, but not the tallest or the biggest. He's fast, but not the fastest. He's bright, but school work doesn't come easy for him. He has to work at everything he does, but he will work as hard as anyone to get what needs to be done, done.

"I have some challenges but try my best to get help for it," he said. "I have a 3.2 GPA, so I am fine there. I try to take in as much as I can. (I have taken the big tests), but haven't gotten the score yet."

He and his mother grew up in the heart of football country. The state of Alabama is home to the last four national titles . Everyone there lives and breathes ‘Roll Tide' or ‘War Damn Eagle'.

But, despite al of that, and the fact that mom pushed him to play football in the first place, she was not a fan of any school. She didn't follow the sport except to watch her son play it.

When it comes to Tre Williams going off to college, mom is as open minded as Williams seems to be.

"She doesn't care," Williams said of his mother. "She watches football because I played, but all she knew was Alabama and Auburn. My uncle is a diehard Auburn fan and his brother is a diehard Alabama fan. All she puts in my head is to keep faith in God and wherever it leads me she is fine with that. I listen to her and wherever I feel comfortable, that is where I will be."

With just about every school in the country at his calling, Williams says he cares not what any depth chart looks like. He has learned from an early age that there will be competition wherever you go and that he is going to have to work to play regardless of any destination he chooses.

Williams' head coach is the first one in line telling him to go where he feels the most comfortable, not where they are telling him it is easiest to get on the field.

"My head coach doesn't want me to look at who is on campus, like how many linebackers they have," Williams said. "If they don't have linebackers now, by the time I get there I will be as new as the guy next to me. I will also be younger than the guy starting so I will have to work anyway.

Already nominated and accepted for a position as an Under Armour All-American, Williams hasn't narrowed his recruiting down at all and is still talking to everyone. However, there is a group of about five schools that are really beating his door down and he has taken notice.

The Crimson Tide is the reigning two-time national champion and the home-state school is certainly in the mix with Williams.

"Everybody loves Nick Saban," Williams said. "Anyone that thinks about Alabama football, they think about Nick Saban. He isn't the most human guy, but he knows what he is talking about."

Saban's defensive coordinator also has a hand in Williams' recruitment at this stage and has made a good impression on the young man as well.

"Coach Kirby Smart is recruiting me some," Williams said. "He is straight up with me. He won't promise me anything and won't just tell me what I want to hear. He tells me that if I go to Alabama I will have to work, but that I have the ability to start."

That other instate program may have a leg up on everyone. That boost would come from former Florida State assistant and Auburn quarterback Dameyune Craig who is now back at his alma mater coaching. Craig is the one that offered Williams first when he was at FSU. Williams will also spend some time on The Plains this weekend.

"Coach Craig grew up with my family," Williams said. "He went to high school with my uncle who's a diehard Auburn fan and that is why he is an Auburn fan.

"When Coach Chizik was there I liked Auburn because he talked to me like I was in the family. At Auburn they are all about family. I am heading up there this weekend to meet the new coaches for a Junior Day.

The Seminoles have a couple of things going for them in the recruitment of Williams including the fact that former Bama assistant Jeremy Pruitt was the one recruiting Williams to Alabama and is now the defensive coordinator at Florida State.

"They were the first to offer," Williams said. "Coach Pruitt is there now and he was my recruiting coach at Alabama. I know him pretty well. We talked about a lot of things and actually talked the other day on the phone. He said he was at Florida State and likes it down there. He wants me to get down there to watch one of their practices.

"He says the same thing as Alabama. He doesn't tell me dreams, he tells me reality. He says if I work hard in the weight room and get faster and stronger and come to college and beat out some of them then you can start.

"That really makes me happy because I know that they have faith in me and I just have to have faith in myself to know I can do it, I just have to keep working hard."

Florida is another team really in the thick of Williams' recruitment. The Gators have had a top 10 defense in the two years that Will Muschamp has been the head coach and Williams likes what he sees and hears about Gainesville.

"I talked to Coach Muschamp the other day," he said. "Me and my head coach plan on taking a visit down there in a couple of weeks. I have a lot of interest in Florida. They want me to come see a practice.

"We talked about me going down to visit because I've never been to Florida and I really want to. I know it is a really good school. I have been watching Florida football since Tebow and all the good ones there and I really like it."

Williams will be heading to Gainesville with his teammate and offensive lineman Joshua Casher. He kind of hinted that there might be a little bit of the unknown that intrigues him about possibly suiting up in the Sunshine State.

"There is nothing bad I can say about Florida except their speed, because I don't think I will qualify for the speed, but I think that will come," the All-American said as he self-reports a high 4.6 time in the 40 yard dash.

"They have never been bad, they always run to the ball and play hard. I am actually confused at what kind of defense they play. I will have to look into it because they move around so much.

"I need to see how the campus is see if they have my major, meet the coaches, see their work ethic, and everything else."

A couple of more programs are at or near the top for Williams beginning with one national program that recruits everywhere on the continent.

"These are the ones that are recruiting me the hardest," he said of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, and Florida. "Plus one more that is far away. Tee Martin at USC is recruiting me hard."

"I have been watching them also. They tell me they don't know if they want me to play inside or outside, it depends on how big I get in the next year.

"They really understand the distance issue. They know if they don't get me they understand because it is really far away for my family to come watch me play. That is their biggest fear. If that was the only issue, though, I would go to USC."

One more team is in the mix and will get a visit down the road.

"The college I loved growing up was Miami, "The U", and because of that I loved the Baltimore Ravens," he said. "I have an offer from them but we really don't talk much. I will go down there for an official visit.

Williams also informed me that he is planning on taking official visits to five already designated schools. The aforementioned Hurricanes get one, along with USC, Alabama, Auburn, and Florida. He knows a lot of what he is looking for when he does visit these programs.

"The first thing is my major," he said. "I want to get into Sports Management and Physical Training. The coaches and how comfortable I am around them and the relationship with them is important to me. And then I will look at everything else, the football, the students, the campus, and all of that."

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