INSIDE SLANT: DB Trey Williams

IDAHO'S RECRUITING FOCUS THIS YEAR was clear: defensive backs and team speed. Four high school seniors were signed for the defensive backfield, including Mississippi All-State and region MVP TREY WILLIAMS, a 6-2, 195-pound athlete sporting a 4.45 forty with his sights set on free safety. Inside, Williams talks about selecting Idaho and the switch to defensive back.

Throughout the recruiting process, Idaho's focused effort to bolster team speed and strengthen the defensive backfield became increasingly apparent. Leading up to signing day, three high school senior defensive back prospects had been identified as verbal commitments to Idaho: Gary Walker (Redlands East Valley, Calif.), Aaron Grymes (West Seattle, Wash.), and Tracy Carter (James Madison, Texas).

On signing day another name emerged, that of Mississippi Class 2A Second Team All-State selection at runningback Trey Williams (6-2, 195) out of Leflore County High School in the city of Itta Bena. Located near the center of the state of Mississippi, Itta Bena is the home of Mississippi Valley State University who came on hard late for the powerful and versatile 'back. They weren't the only local school looking at Williams either.

The Vandals had been on Williams since November, but it was the appeal of Idaho's rebuilding football program and the opportunity to compete at the Division 1A level in the Western Athletic Conference - which has sent Boise State to the Fiesta Bowl and Hawaii to the Sugar Bowl in the last four years - that gave Idaho the advantage in signing the highly regarded athlete.

So how did Idaho connect with Williams, given the vast distance between Moscow and Itta Bena? Coaching and University connections.

Former Eastern Washington standout Alvin Tolliver (late '90s) coaches Williams at Leflore and sent highlight tapes of Trey to Idaho wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Luther Carr, who is also an alumnus at Eastern Washington and was a standout receiver in the early '90s for the Eagles. After that, "coach Carr came and talked to me, he and coach Genatone. They decided to bring me up on a visit, and it was all because of coach Tolliver that I'm going there."

Small world.

Luther Carr ran recruiting point for the Vandals, and Williams was hosted on his trip to Moscow by sophomore-to-be tailback Troy Vital. In the end Williams held offers from Idaho, Eastern Washington, and hometown Mississippi Valley State. There were other offers as well. "Mississippi State wanted me, but they wanted to grayshirt me," Williams told GoVandals.net. "I had a couple colleges biting, but they weren't real about offering."

It was the trip to Moscow that clinched the deal, as has happened so often this recruiting season for the Vandals. "When I was out there on a visit [January 23rd] it just felt like I was at home almost, because it just felt like I'd been there before, but I never had been there," Williams told GoVandals.net. "It just felt like I belonged there."

And, following suit, the reaction by the Idaho coaching staff was predictable when Williams made his commitment. Head coach Robb Akey was on the receiving end of the call from Williams when he returned home following his official visit and made his final decision with his family. Akey's genuine excitement when players commit is almost patentable and always memorable. "Oh, they were all excited," Williams said. "It was like...I'm the first person from the Mississippi Delta to play for their football team. They were really excited."

A four-year letter winner at Leflore County packing a 3.5 GPA, as a senior he was a workhorse out of the Tiger backfield, rushing for 1,900 yards on 194 carries (going into the 2nd round playoff game he averaged an eye-popping 8.7 yards per carry), while also adding 23 touchdowns. He did this while battling a high-ankle sprain at the end of the season (he rushed for 181 yards on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns while playing for just 2.5 quarters against Coahoma, and missed the West Tally game completely).

For his outstanding effort, he was named the Commonwealth Region Player of the Year. He also ran for SEVEN 2-point conversions last year, scored on three touchdown receptions (a total of six receptions on the year for 194 yards), and even threw for one score. The MVP capped off his senior season by leading the Tigers from an 0-3 start to the second round of the Class 2A State playoffs.

In the first round game against Hamilton, Williams led the Tigers with 161 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns.

Leflore County head coach Cedric McSwine was quoted in the Greenwood Commonwealth as sizing up Williams as a lead on and off the field. "Trey was a great player for us and not only because he led us on the field, but because of his off-field accomplishments. Trey has kept his grades up and he is the model student/athlete," said McSwine. "Every coach needs a player like Trey on his team. He changed a lot of games for us with his game-breaking plays. I know he has what it takes to play on the next level."

As a junior Williams rushed for 700 yards and 12 touchdowns, and as a sophomore he played both ways ways as a sophomore and rushed for 500 yards and nine TDs along with defensively accounting for 60 tackles and 20 tackles for loss.

As reported earlier, Williams has clocked a swift 4.45 forty, and he's as comfortable on the track as he is on the gridiron. He took second in the Class 2A State Championships in 110-meter hurdles (Accutrack best time of 14.1), and he was a member of Leflore's Class 2A State Championship 4x100 relay team.

He will be using those jets to strengthen Idaho's defensive backfield, and he has no intentions of redshirting next fall. "I'm expecting to come right out of the gate and be on the field," Williams told GoVandals.net. He will be focusing his attention on free safety while at Idaho, with senior free safety Virdell Larkins acting as a mentor this fall. Williams will be working to bulk his 6-2 frame up to 215 pounds as his optimum weight for the position change, which could also include some looks at wide receiver for the Vandals as well.

Academically, Williams is fully qualified and considering majoring in Architecture at the University of Idaho.



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