After months of preparation Andrew Williams knew he’d be ready for action when he arrived in Beaverton, Oregon for Nike’s The Opening this week. That said, even he was a bit taken aback by just how ready.
“I tested really good, actually,” the 6-4, 251-pounder said proudly. “I surprised myself a little bit. I ran a 4.7. That’s like the biggest thing for me. I’ve been working on speed all summer, so it’s finally paid off. Power ball I got a 43. Shuttle was like a 4.4, and vertical was a 36 (edt note: it was 33.5 inch vertical according to the official SPARQ results).”
Williams continued to impress when initial session of one-on-ones rolled around on the first day of competition. Most memorable for the Peach State star was his match-up with the player that he and all the defensive linemen wanted to measure themselves against.
“I did go against the #1 tackle (Cameron Robinson),” Williams stated. “I saw him dominate guys, so I was a little nervous. But I just went out there, played my game, and I won. So it was really cool for me. He definitely wants a rematch (Tuesday), so you’re going to see it.”
Unfortunately Williams, Robinson and his o-line cohorts were on a mission on day two. After having been handily beaten on day one the offensive trenchmen took their collective turn being dominant. The difference this time was they were able to use their massive size more to their advantage thanks to putting the pads on. Even so, Williams was one of the few defensive linemen that managed to notch a few victories as the competition went on.
When not focused on the competition and camaraderie Williams took time out to talk a little recruiting. He even pondered announcing his pared down list during the event.
“I’m semi getting a top five or six right now,” said Williams. “I haven’t officially released them yet, but they’re coming soon.”
Though not yet ready at the time of this interview to lay out his entire list of finalists, he did open up a bit regarding the Wolverines’ standing.
“They’re up there,” Williams replied when asked if Michigan is in his top five.
“I would love to get down there for the 19th. That’s definitely one visit I personally plan on taking. I’m definitely interested in Michigan.”
“I’m looking forward to visiting. I’ve talked to some of the coaches (and) some of the players, and they said it’s beautiful. So I can’t wait to get out there and just see it myself. I’m just ready to see Big Blue, I guess.”
In the past Williams has expressed a great deal of excitement over chance to take in the program’s rich tradition first hand. While that certainly will be still priority, how the Wolverines measure up to some other very important criteria will have a greater impact on their chances.
“Factors for me would be if I would go to that school if I didn’t play football,” Williams explained. “That’s obviously one because it’s not all about football. (It’s also about) education-wise. “Football-wise, scheme… if they run a great scheme for me. And just coaching and family. Do I feel comfortable playing there?”
“(Distance) is something to think about, but it’s not really heavy in my final decision,” he later added.
All of that would seem to bode well for Michigan since a great deal of comfort has already been fostered. The roots of Williams’ favorable impression of the Maize & Blue sprang from a glimpse he had of the program last year.
“I went to the Notre Dame/Michigan game, and Michigan… they played,” he said. “That was eye-opening. (So too are) the coaches. The new coaching staff… I just bonded with the coaches and have that connection with them.”
“Me and Coach Mattison, we’re real cool. We’re really cool. Every other week he checks up on me, so that’s really good to see.”
One of the things Mattison has discussed with his prospective pupil is fit. The former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator has made it clear on the recruiting trail that he is searching for a Terrell Suggs-like pass rusher. That’s a role that suits Williams just fine.
“I’m looking to be a defensive end regardless (of scheme)… no matter how you break it down,” he stated. As long as I’m getting that quarterback and making plays, I’m good.”
The same could certainly be said for his future coach. The answer to who that will be won’t likely be known until the fall.
“After I visit all my (finalists), and then some other schools that I’m still interested in (a commitment will be made),” said Williams. “I’ll probably take two officials.”
To view the interview with Williams in its entirety press play below.