Demetrius Williams has been a name on the Illinois radar for some time. The shifty running back from Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School visited last spring with Zeph Grimes and Ralph Cooper, both Illini signees. This fall, he helped lead his team to a state title game berth in South Carolina, which they lost.
"It was good. We worked hard in the offseason. Our goal was to make it to state. Once we got there we let up. I think if we had another chance to play them, it'd be a whole different ballgame."
Williams is a unique case. Because he played varsity football for Bamberg in eighth grade, he has no more high school eligibility and will be going to prep school en route to college.
"I'll be enrolling over the summer. I'm going to Gray Military in West Columbia, South Carolina. It's a new school. I talked to one of the players, an offensive lineman, that's heading up there. It looks like everyone that's trying out is going to be pretty good."
Williams will still have to complete the necessary classes from high school, but he has always made class work a priority and says that his classes at Gray Military will just be a continuation of high school rather than make-up work.
"First things first, I want to make sure my grades are good. That's why they call it 'student athlete.' My main goal is to go there and get my work done. Then I can go out and do my thing with football."
On the field, Williams is ready for the challenge of prep school. He's already fast, and by weight, he's strong. But Williams knows he will need to put on more weight to face the competition that he will see every Saturday in college.
"I want to get a little bigger, faster, and stronger. Also, that will prepare me for college and let me know what I have to face. There are people who are going to prep school who are college ready but don't have the grades. I'll have to face good players and big players."
Recruiting was hot for Williams for a while, but when he notified coaches that he was going to prep school, it was put on the back burner for some time. With his prep school decided, things are heating back up.
"I talk to a lot of coaches. They thought I was coming out this year. I told them I was going to prep school. Now that I've decided, they're just waiting for me to finish up with prep school. Oregon has been talking to me a lot."
Williams has been going through the recruiting process for quite some time. As mentioned before, Oregon is a team that has been making a move for him. Recruiting could be more difficult to manage at prep school, so Williams wants to make his decision while he still has the guidance of Bamberg coaches Kevin and Corey Crosby.
"I want to commit before I go to prep school. Coach Crosby and I have been talking a lot and Oregon is definitely a good option for me."
Some schools have come into the picture for Williams as of late, including the national champions.
"Minnesota, Miami (OH), Ole Miss, Auburn, Southern Cal was for a bit, Tennessee, NC State. Really, Oregon is the main one. I still talk to all of the coaches from Illinois too to see how things are going."
Illinois was at one time a favorite for Williams. They still rank near the top of the list, but they have company now from the Oregon Ducks.
"I think it's just a matter of time for one or the other. Regardless of where I go I want to go in, work hard, get my work done, and play hard for whoever I end up playing for."
Will his final decision come down to just those two schools?
"I'm not saying it will come down to Illinois and Oregon. Coach and I will be talking about it, and we'll work through my list and trim it down to decide from whoever is best for me.
Coach knows a lot about what could be best for me. I don't watch a lot of these teams play on Saturdays, and he knows a lot about what would be a good fit for me."
Since he'll likely decide over the summer, Williams doesn't have a plan yet for an announcement.
"I'm not sure yet what I'll do for a decision. I want to make sure everything is good with school first."
As for traveling across the country to see Oregon, Williams says it's possible but may or may not happen with his schedule.
"I haven't been out to Oregon yet, but I'm trying to go over spring break. I don't know if that‘s going to work."