3-star St. Louis Ritenour OT Nick Williams discusses earning Illinois, Minnesota offers

St. Louis Ritenour OL Nick Williams' recruitment ratched up a few notches on Monday after he earned two Big Ten offers

Nick Williams went to school on Monday with just one power-five scholarship offer (from Kansas). By the end of the school day, the 6-foot-8, 265-pound St. Louis Ritenour offensive lineman tripled that total.

Illinois gave Williams, a three-star prospect, his first Big Ten offer in the morning, and Minnesota followed in the afternoon with another.

"It was crazy; I wasn't expecting anything like that today," Williams told Illini Inquirer. "It was amazing the whole day."


Illinois offensive line coach Luke Butkus visited Ritenour earlier Monday and then extended the offer to Williams during a phone call later.

"They had wanted to offer me for a while, but today was the first day he got to see me in person," Williams said. "He liked me. He said he liked what he saw. He said he liked my athleticism. He liked the way I finish blocks. He likes the way I'm mobile and quick off the blocks. He said he likes the frame I got because I can build on it."

Illinois has made a big early impression, and Williams -- ranked the No. 84 offensive tackle in the Class of 2018 -- said he hopes to visit campus soon.

"I can't wait to get on campus," Williams said. "We're trying to plan a day that would be good for everybody, when it works out for the coaches and my family."

Williams said Lovie Smith's staff is the most appealing aspect of the Illini.

"A lot of coaches with NFL experience," Williams said. "You can't get any better than that."

But Illinois has Big Ten competition. Minnesota followed with an offer just hours after the Illini.

"That one was crazy too," Williams said. "We've been in contact for a while. I was really liking the coaches. I was really liking the program, and I was really hoping I would get the offer. It finally came today. They basically said a lot of the same things (as Illinois). I know I have a lot to work on. Any school that's willing to put the effort into me, I'm willing to consider them."

Ritenour has been a popular destination for power-five programs. Williams is a teammate of Scout 300, four-star linebacker Ayodele Adeoye -- a top target of the Illini. Adeoye has visited Illinois multiple times and is one of the top schools he is considering.

The Illini hope the Ritenour teammates stay teammates -- only in Champaign. But Williams said Adeoye doesn't talk much about recruiting with him.

"You know how he is," Williams said. "He's real quiet, real humble. We're not really focused on the future (and recruiting) right now. We're more focused on the season coming up. We have a lot of stuff to work on and a lot of stuff to beat."

Now, Williams is becoming a power-five attraction. Kansas already offered, and Williams said Kentucky and TCU also are showing more interest.

"I think this is going to be a stepping stone that offers a path to me to get bigger offers and get a lot more schools," Williams said.

Where's Monday rank among best days for Williams?

"Probably one of the best in a while," he said.

Williams on his game

"I think my main strengths are getting up the field, going up to the next level, exploding off the ball quick and finishing blocks. I think the main weakness of my game is my pass protection. That's what me and my coaches have really been focusing on and improving."

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