RECRUITING: Williams Impressed By 2nd Trip To UF

It can only be a good sign for the Florida Gators that Damian Williams, the All-World wide receiver from Springdale, Arkansas, has paid not just one, but two unofficial visits to Gainesville in the past month. The 6-0, 177-pounder liked what he saw the first time he came to Florida and he left even more impressed after his second visit this past week.

Williams is part of the Springdale Five, a group so talented that they are the five most highly sought after prospects in the entire state of Arkansas playing on the same high school team. Quarterback Mitch Mustain is the trigger man for a high powered offense that includes Willams and Andrew Norman at wide receiver, Ben Cleveland at tight end and Bartley Webb on the offensive line. Williams and a couple of his teammates paid a visit to Gainesville a month ago and just Wednesday, he got back from a three-day trip to UF that he made with his parents.

"It was my second trip," he said. "This time I just came up with my parents. The last time I came up with my teammates Ben Cleveland and Bartley Webb and Coach (Gus) Malzahn. That was just to come and check out the facilities. I got to meet a couple of players, toured the campus, checked out the academics and spoke with some of those people. Andre Caldwell, Dallas Baker, and Chris Leak were the players I met. I had a chance to meet Tate Casey too."

He felt good enough about that trip that he wanted to come back for a second look with his parents. He says that his parents will be quite influential in the decision making process when it comes time to choose a school.

"I was there for three days … It was good," he said. "I got a chance to tour the facilities with my parents. We met with the coaches and the coaches families Tuesday night. I actually did not get to meet with the players (this time). They were on (semester) break. Coach Gonzalez is a nice guy. From what I gather he knows his stuff … his family was real nice."

The family aspect of the trip was very important and the Gators were able to showcase the academics and other aspects of the program that will impact the decision for Williams.

"I like it so far … I still have a little (more schools) to look at," he said. "I have to put each school in comparison. I can tell the coaches are going to do well with the team next year. I am looking forward to seeing what they do."

He will reveal no favorites at this moment. He's made trips to Texas, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma to visit their campuses. Although he likes most of the coaches and contacts he has made, the recruiting process is not quite what he imagined.

"The whole process has been kind of wild," he said. "I dreamed about this kind of stuff, but it is kind of a crazy process with all of the rules you have to know and that kind of stuff."

He is steadily compiling his list of qualifications for schools and breaking them down as he visits. He seems to have a firm grip on just what he is looking for and these criteria will help him pare down his list of suitors to a serious group that he will actually consider.

"I am looking at the coaching staffs and their families right now," he said. "After that I am looking at their facilities and academics and all that. I want the facilities to be somewhere that I can get my workouts in and have all the resources I need available to maximize my abilities."

He excels on and off the football field. His junior season was riddled with injury, but that hasn't stopped the likes of UF, Arkansas, LSU, Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas, Texas A&M and more offering him scholarships to play football. Williams has multiple skills that the recruiters like.

"I am a hard worker and I have very good field awareness," he said. "I am a versatile player and can be a big play receiver or a possession guy, whatever they need at the time. I am a good student. I am open to other people and say hi to everyone in the halls."

The future Business Management major isn't quite sure how long it will take to narrow down the field of choices. He is taking his time as he wants to make the best decision for himself.

"I am actually not sure … like I said I just got back from Florida today and we are going to analyze that school," he said. "Then we are going to compare them to the rest of the schools on the list. Hopefully after an intense review of each school, we can come up with a top five."

One day next February, Damian Williams will make some coaching staff in America very happy. When he pulls the trigger on a scholarship decision, that school will get the answer it wants because Williams has carefully done his homework. This guy is all business on the field and off so coaching staffs wold be wise to play it on the up and up or they won't be seeing any more of Damian Williams.

(Photos courtesy of the Williams family)

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