Ashante Williams Talks Football

Ashante Williams is one of the University of Illinois' first football commitments for the 2008 class. The Mayfield, Ohio, star may not have big ratings yet, but he was a high priority for the Illinois staff.

Ashante is not worried about the lack of recognition. In fact, he embraces it.

"It's ok because I didn't go to any camps this year. I like being unknown because then when I blow up it will surprise a lot of people."

Listed at 5'-10" and 188 pounds, Williams plays running back and outside linebacker for his high school team. Undersized linebackers don't garner five-star ratings, but that will not be his position at Illinois.

"Coach Wolford said I could probably play offense, but it looks like I will probably play cornerback."

Ashante was part of the Ted Ginn bus tour that attended one-day camps at numerous Midwest universities over the summer. It was on these visits where he showed his true potential as a cornerback. Paired frequently against fellow traveler and All-American receiver Cordale Scott, Williams earned high praise.

"Cordale is a very tough receiver. I play aggressive, and I was one of the strongest players on the bus. So while he might not be strong, his size alone can give you problems. I used my strength and aggressiveness to push him around some. He said I was the toughest defender he ever ran into."

Perhaps even more telling is Ashante's self-confidence. He has no football heroes and doesn't try to pattern his game on any other player. He is his own hero.

"I just play aggressive and fast and try to play my hardest every play."

Ohio State, Iowa, Purdue, Indiana, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Marshall, and a few other schools were all involved in Ashante's recruitment. Why did he choose Illinois?

"When I went down for the one-day camp, I felt the love from the coaches. I liked how they talked with me. They were straight forward with me and my parents. When they said something, they were telling the truth. It wasn't like some places where they say one thing and mean another. They may tell you you are the best player in the world, but after they have you in their back pocket they might say something else. I appreciated the honesty of the Illini coaches."

Ashante is planning to major in business or communications, so he took advantage of the recent Academic day to get better acquainted with his future university.

"It went good. It showed me a lot of what Illinois had to offer. We talked to people about our majors, then we went on a campus tour, ate lunch and then took a tour of the football facilities. It was a nice day."

He also had a chance to meet some of the Illini players and other recruits and recent commitments.

"They were really great. I spent some time with Vontae Davis and some of his roommates."

Mayfield is 20 minutes from Cleveland, and they play in the second largest of five divisions in Ohio. Ashante thinks his team will be pretty good this year. And his coach has told him he might carry the ball thirty times a game.

He is looking forward to that opportunity and for the chance to play next year for the Fighting Illini.

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