The University of Illinois is becoming a popular destination for Jacksonville football players. Assistant coach Dan Disch used to coach high school ball there, and he has a glowing reputation among the coaches and players in the area. He made Tramell Williams happy with a recent phone call.
"Coach Disch gave me a call and offered me," Williams explains. "I'm really excited about that. I've been waiting on that for a long time. I had a great year last year, and I was hopeful. It means something."
Williams explained why he is close to Coach Disch.
"Coach Disch is a real cool coach. He used to coach at Ed White, one of our area schools, and he's real. He's real down to earth, and that's what you look for in a coach. Someone you can be around and feel comfortable with. I feel comfortable with him, and that's a key thing."
Williams describes his playing ability.
"I believe I'm one of the most athletic linemen in the nation. I'm about 6'-2"-6'-3", about 260 pounds although I played last season at 270. I'm a real versatile lineman. I run a 4.9 forty, so I'm pretty quick.
"I played both defensive tackle and offensive tackle. I also played d-end, a little bit at middle linebacker, offensive guard. So I'm an all-around athlete. Whatever the team needs, I play."
The Robert E. Lee High School star had 29 tackles from his defensive tackle spot last fall, and he says he loves to get after the quarterback. But he says most colleges see him as an offensive lineman.
"In college, I'm getting recruited as a center. Most teams want me to play center or guard. I'm more comfortable at offensive line, but I'll fit in wherever they need me. I like to get my hands on somebody and drive them."
Williams has five scholarship offers so far, but more may be in the offing down the road.
"Illinois, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Southern Miss and Indiana are my five scholarship offers right now. Rutgers is recruiting me. They want me to get down to about 250 and play middle linebacker. That sounds crazy, but I think I can do it. So Rutgers, Miami, and Florida State are recruiting me. I've heard a little from Florida, but I don't think they're going to recruit me."
He may not have time for any camps this summer, but he is hoping to visit two schools at the top of his recruiting list.
"I'm not really planning to go to any camps this summer. I just want to get to the schools and get a feel for them, the players and the coaches. I'm taking classes over the summer so I can graduate in December, so it puts a strain on going to camps.
"I'm trying to get up to Illinois on the 23rd. My coach is trying to determine that as we speak. I'm trying to see Illinois and South Carolina. They're my two top schools."
Illinois is also recruiting linebacker Jamaul Christopher from Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach, Florida, a Jacksonville suburb. He might join Williams on a trip North.
"Yeah, that's my home boy. We're really tight. We're both talking about Illinois. I'm thinking he wants to come to Illinois. He was telling me he didn't want to just be him by himself. So I need to get up there and see for myself.
"We're trying to work it so both of us can come up on the same date. There's a lot of Jacksonville dudes that went up there this year. They got two this year and three last year. That's pretty big right there."