Miss. State commitment softens, plans visits

CLARKSDALE, Miss. -- All was supposed to be said and done for the player that some are calling the best all around player in the South. But over the past few weeks, Clarksdale High School's Darren Williams has softened significantly on his verbal commitment to Mississippi State.

Williams has spent most of his senior season playing quarterback, but he projects as a safety in college. In his junior year, he picked off 11 passes and had 63 tackles. After two years as a starter at safety and receiver, he was moved into the QB slot.  Williams also still handles the punt returning duties. Williams is 6-3 200lbs with 4.46 speed. He is a member of the Clarion Ledger Dandy Dozen, was an all-state selecyion as a junior on defense and is ranked by ESPN.com and USA Today as the top player in the nation at safety.

"I could play any of the three (quarterback, receiver, or safety) if my coach wants me to," Williams said, "but I like defense, and feel I am better there."

Darren also plays basketball but has decided not to play his senior year because he has not taken any recruiting visits.

"I don't think its fair to my teammates that I would be missing a practice because of this visit, or a game because of that visit so I am just not going to play. Plus, all I need is to come down bad one time and get hurt."

The main reason that he has not taken any visits to date is because his team is still alive in the state championship hunt. Assuming the Clarksdale Wildcats do make it to the state championship game, Williams planned visit to Florida on the Dec. 15, Ole Miss on Dec. 22 and Miss. State on Dec. 29. He has invitations to visit Notre Dame and Tennessee and hopes to visit Knoxville.

Clarksdale head football coach Jesse Murphree said the main reason Williams has softened on his Mississippi State commitment is simply to keep his options open.

"Darren is a remarkable player. He does it all for us: punt returns, interceptions and now throws touchdown passes," Murphree said.

Williams' ties to Mississippi State are former Clarksdale athletes like linebacker Mario Haggan and defensive lineman Robert Spivey.

The school that gets Williams skills will be one that will not only provide what Darren wants athletically, but also include an opportunity for him to major in sports medicine.

"I have wanted to go into sports medicine since I was like, five," he said. "The thing about football is one bad ankle and I don't have anything left to fall back on."

Williams is already fully qualified.

As for Darren's chances of committing to LSU, they look very slim. He wants to stay in the SEC and may end up in Starkville, but he will look around first. Apparently, LSU had shown interest early but backed down after Williams' verbal commitment to the Bulldogs.

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