One prospect I have been telling Hawk fans to watch out for in this class is DB Richie Williams. Many of today's NFL stars at DB came out of nowhere from high school, including former Vanderbilt stars Cory Chavous and Fred Vinson. Both attended North Augusta High School in South Carolina and were coached by current Iowa DC Norm Parker at Vanderbilt. Richie Williams is now the third DB prospect to come from the same school and Coach Joe Long still has the same high praise.
"I think very highly of Richie," Coach Joe Long said. "I do believe he is just as good coming out of high school as both Fred and Cory were. Cory did gain some attention in high school, but like Richie, Fred came out of nowhere."
So how possibly could a DB tradition rich school like North Augusta still have DB's come out of nowhere?
"I'm really not sure," Coach Long added. "Some schools looked and flirted quickly, but nothing more than that. When I made the highlight film, Richie asked I send one to Iowa since he was a Hawkeye fan. Richie has always been a Hawkeye fan."
That is right, DB Richie Williams grew up in North Augusta, SC being a Hawkeye fan. Hawk fans just might very well be singing the praises of how Richie landed in Iowa's lap three or four years from now.
"When I was a young child, I just decided to pick Iowa as one of my favorite teams," Richie Williams stated. "My friends would always question me about it, but I truthfully never know why I had interest in Iowa."
Examining why more southern schools, like some SEC teams, did not chase Richie, what are some other possible points?
"I made my highlight film pretty late so I know a lot of schools were not able to evaluate me," according to Richie. "A lot of schools already had their set priorities at DB."
Coach Joe Long had a different perspective in why a Big Ten like Iowa all of a sudden jumped in the picture.
"We play a lot of man coverage here at North Augusta, and coaches love that. It helps prepare DB's faster for the college level. Playing man, Richie has quicker hips and turns than most other DB's, and Iowa recongized that. They were very smart in their evaluation. The south definitely missed out one in Richie."
Georgia Southern and Western Carolina were the other schools vying for Richie's services. Hawaii and Georgia Tech were stil making phone calls.
Richie was one of the visitors that flew out on Martin Luther King, JR. Day. Most official visits to Iowa City end up being a surprise for many out of state prospects, but not Richie.
"I loved my visit when I got up there. It was everything that I expected it to be. The only big surprise was how big the weight room was as I could not believe it when I stood in there. Benny Sapp was my host and he gave me the truth on how it is at the University of Iowa."
Richie also competes in track at North Augusta. However, according to him, track is only his "football condition program." Richie did compete in the 4x100, 100, 200, and Long Jump last season. Richie also has been timed under 4.5 in the 40 yard dash.
Richie will have every chance to step into practice next season and earn time as a true freshmen. With the advanced coaching of Joe Long and the North Augusta staff, Hawk fans have plenty of reason to be excited about the contributions Richie will make here at the U of Iowa.