Mon Williams Ready To Carve Out His Own Niche

The Lone Star State is a breeding ground rich with football talent. Until recently, Florida has had very little success at charming these young athletes away from Texas but Coach Urban Meyer and the Florida staff are working hard to knock down those barriers. Florida signed David Nelson and Kestahn Moore from Texas in 2005 and the Gators continued the trend this year by signing Brandon Antwine and Mon Williams. Williams might be living proof that everything truly is bigger in Texas.

(See Mon Williams profile)

Williams is a 205-pound tailback from Mesquite that is an interesting combination of speed and power. He's been put on an extremely tight eating regimen by Florida's nutritionists. Coach Meyer and running backs coach Stan Drayton hope he reports at somewhere around 215 in August. Williams is serious about packing on the necessary pounds, making sure every ounce of weight added to his frame is pure muscle.

"I weigh 205 now!" Mon said. "I was 195 back when I visited Florida on the 13th (of January). Now, they've got me on this eating program where they choose everything I eat so that there's no fat and it's all muscle getting put on."

Williams is focused on getting prepared to compete for playing time from the first day he arrives on campus. With the versatility Mon brings to the position --- he runs well inside with power to break tackles, speed to accelerate once he's in the secondary and just enough juke to make people miss --- he truly feels like he brings the entire package to Gator Nation.

"I can do a little bit of everything." Mon said. "I can be an every-down back. I mean, I was an every-down back in high school, and I feel the main difference at college is going to be the level of speed and quickness on the field. I'm going to step mine up, and work on my quickness. I mean, I'm going to get faster. I'm not really worried about it [the increased speed of the game]. I think I'll get plenty stronger physically and mentally as well."

With the addition of Mon, Chevon Walker and Brandon James at the running back position, Florida has filled a great need with three talented and versatile backs. Mon fills the role of that tough inside runner that Florida needed. DeShawn Wynn was supposed to be that bruiser for the Gators, but unfortunately has been plagued by a nagging shoulder injury as well as numerous other health issues. Wynn will be a senior this fall so the Gators are in need of a back that can get it done between the tackles. Williams is quite confident that he can step handle the big back's role in the Florida offense.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I feel good about the depth chart. I'm going to be looking for a starting position come September. I'm a competitor ... whatever I want, I'm going to go after it. I mean I'm going to work hard at it, I don't just expect it to get handed to me. I'm going to work hard for it."

Williams was never shy to express his interest in the Gators. All along Florida was at the top of his list. He grew up watching the Gators and made it perfectly clear he was a Florida fan. At one point in the recruiting process, however, rumors began to circulate that Florida was slipping on his personal chart. He had stated early on in the process that he wanted to make a public commitment long before National Signing Day. So if he knew he wanted to be a Gator from day one and he wanted to end the process sooner than later, why did he wait so long?

"I wanted to see how all the schools really felt about me coming to their school." Mon said. "I wanted to see their reactions, and see who was serious. Not just the coaches and programs, but the students and fans as well. I mean some of the schools wanted me to come but then it seemed like some of them, they just acted like it didn't really matter to them and that I was just another person. At Florida, I got that feeling of being wanted. Everyone was asking me how I was doing, and where I was from. Everybody was really nice and wanted me to be there."

Many fans thought that Williams might be holding off on his commitment because the Gators were hoping for some leverage for landing C.J. Spiller of Lake Butler (FL) Union County. That logic was based on the premise that if Williams committed early, making three backs for the class, Spiller might be scared by Florida's potential depth chart. Williams did his best to assure Gator fans that there was absolutely no connection between him and Spiller, and there were no strategic moves going on behind the scenes involving his late commitment.

"I had barely heard his name until all the stuff started being said about Spiller and me," Williams said. "The national rankings out there don't really mean a thing. I mean, it's someone out there that does that ... it's just a ranking. The only difference between him and me is his name is C.J. and mine is Mon. To be honest and with all due respect to C.J., I barely even know who he is and the coaches never talked to me at all about holding off on my commitment because of him."

Spiller stole much of the spotlight on National Signing Day. Williams announced his commitment to the Gators at 10:00 a.m. and Spiller's announcement followed at 10:30. Many fans completely overlooked Mon's announcement, instead dwelling on the fact that C.J. got away. Williams was adamant in his respect for C.J. Spiller, and realizes that he was the home-state prospect who was choosing between rival schools. He wasn't upset that C.J. got the majority of attention, and says there are no hard feelings at all about the situation.

"I mean I guess everyone was waiting to see where he was going 'cause everyone thought he was gonna pick Florida," Williams said. "I mean whatever school he picks is fine but if he would have picked Florida, it wouldn't have upset or changed my decision at all because he's just another person like all the running backs at Florida. He went to Clemson, right? I announced just before him, so I guess you could make the argument that he went to Clemson because I came to Florida."

Over the course of the recruiting process, Williams has become particularly close to a few other recruits in this year's class. Brandon Antwine is from nearby Garland. He also became good friends with Justin Williams of Folkston (GA) Charlton County. He stays in touch on a regular basis with both Antwine and Justin Williams and he's looking forward to building a solid friendship with those guys when he gets here to UF.

"My homeboy stays in Garland and he's going to Florida too." Mon said. "His name is Brandon Antwine. His mom and mine are going to take the same planes over for our games.

"I'm really close with Justin Williams too. We talk on the phone all the time. Justin and Brandon Antwine are the ones I really keep in touch with. I'll probably room with Brandon next year just because we're from the same area. I'd room with Justin too, but I don't think we can have three to a room."

Gator Nation should be extremely excited about this young man. He's a bruiser of a back, with the quickness and moves to go along with it. Williams said that he's run a 4.35 forty in practice before and that his speed is his hidden asset. He loves hard work and he likes the chance to work to improve any weaknesses in his game. There will be three veterans and three rookies in Florida's fall camp so it will be a big battle for playing time but he's up for the competition and confident that he can carve out a place in the rotation. He is serious about being successful at the collegiate level and wants Gator fans to know that he'll go that extra mile to do what it takes.

"I'm different from others in the sense that I do things like stay longer after practices," he said. "I go that extra mile that most others don't. I work extremely hard and I'm always working on getting faster and better. I'm willing to do whatever it takes, and I do things like stay after practices pulling tires and the sleds ... things like that. I work hard."

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