Jerry Rice's advice among the standout moments for Alabama wide receiver commitment Xavier Williams at The Opening

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Not only did four-star Alabama commitment Xavier Williams get to work among the best at The Opening Finals last week, but he learned from the best wide receiver or all time in the process.

Many top college football prospects relish The Opening Finals every summer because of the competition, spotlight and let's be honest -- the loads of fresh Nike gear. 

But the wide receivers received a special opportunity this time around as Jerry Rice spent the early portion of the event with the future of the position. It was a surprise to all participants, including Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna prospect Xavier Williams.

The four-star Alabama Crimson Tide commitment, like many, wanted to soak in anything he could from the NFL's all-time leader in ever receiving category and the rest of the coaching staff, which also featured current Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley.

"He told me how he did things and how it works for him," he said of Rice. "Just telling us the little things. He was telling us how he would go to practice 15 minutes before practice and just break down the top of his routes, just to make sure he was beating guys all of the time. That really inspired me, I took a lot of things from him, so this fall you'll see.

"Here is the best coaches in the world, best position coaches in the world, so every little detail, I just want to pay attention and become a great listener. I feel like I am, but I want to improve on it more and improve on my game with what they tell me."

Even at 54 years old, Rice showed off some of the skill, too. 

"He actually got out there and started running routes with us, which was amazing," Williams said. "That's why they say this is football heaven." 

http://www.scout.com/player/199692-xavier-williams

The competition aspect often plays a large part with 160-plus of the top prospects in America on the same field and it fosters some friendships, too.

"It's a great experience, meeting new people, I've become close with a lot of people here," he said. "Justyn RossJack TuttleJustin FieldsTerrace Marshall Jr., it's a lot of guys, the list goes on. 

"I met Justyn Ross a couple of times, we already had kind of a social media friendship, a little back and forth. But now we got a chance to hang out, I know him on a personal level. We talk about the recruiting process, we just talk about football period. I know where he's coming from with things, all that."

Williams did a little recruiting for Alabama while prospects headed elsewhere courted him to their program.

"It's a little bit of both," he said with a smile. "Of course, Brian HightowerMark Pope and them (Miami (Fl) commitments) come up to me like, 'when you flipping?' Stuff like that, just making little jokes. I'm just out here enjoying everything."

Discussion surrounding the south Floridian, who committed to Alabama in January, picked up as he visited many schools in the South and Midwest following the spring.  

"I feel like Kentucky is a nice place, it surprised me, but I'm still 100 percent to Alabama," Williams said. "I just went because I went all three years of my high school life on the bus tour, so why not finish it?

"But I'm 100 percent. Roll Tide Roll!"

 


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