For its last practice before spring break March 11, Maryland hosted several football players from Hylton High in Woodbridge, Va., including freshman sensation Ricky Slade and rising star quarterback/athlete Donovan Williams. The 2018 recruit Slade, who holds a Terps offer, still has a long ways to go in his recruitment, but the Junior Williams has college near the forefront of his mind as the spring evaluation period nears.
So far, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Williams has a pair of Division I-AA offers from JMU and Fordham, but Division I programs such as Wake Forest, Maryland, Penn State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Toledo have been in touch. Williams isn’t sure when or if the Terps will actually offer, but he’s looking forward to building a relationship with new Northern Virginia-area UMD recruiter Keenan McCardell and showing the staff what he can do at a one-day camp this summer.
“I’ve actually had contact with Maryland since my freshman year, although they’re not one of the top schools that’s been in contact with me recently. I think that’s because they just switched recruiters from Coach Lyndon Johnson to Coach McCardell, so hopefully they’ll get back in touch,” Williams said. “I’m hoping they do, because Maryland is one of the main schools I’m looking at, and it’s always a good time when I visit there.
“If they were to offer me, it would mean a whole lot. It’s one of my favorite schools, just being in the DMV and near my home. They play Big Ten football there, and it’s a great school [academically] too. So it would be an honor to get a look from Maryland.”
Williams had actually been in College Park, Md., a few times prior to his team’s March 11 trip. He said he attended the UMD-West Virginia football game last fall, while he took a campus tour and participated in a camp last summer.
“But this time [March 11] I saw behind the scenes of what goes on at Maryland,” Williams said. “It was the first time I saw a practice, so I really got a feel for how the coaches interact and work with the players. It was really organized, and I can tell the coaching staff is top notch.
“I think the talent level is really high there too. I liked what I saw out of the receivers, the defensive backs, the defensive line. Unfortunately their top two quarterbacks were down, so they had a third-stringer in there, but the rest of the team definitely looked good.”
After taking in practice, Williams and Co. walked around College Park. The Hylton product said they checked out the football facilities as well as the academic buildings.
“I really liked the feel of the campus as a whole; it’s a nice community,” Williams said. “And the gear there, it’s off the charts. I love the Under Armour stuff. Plus they’re doing all kinds of renovations and building new fields, so that should be really nice too.”
Unfortunately for Williams, he wasn’t able to have a one-on-one conversation with McCardell while on campus. That said, the Terps’ receivers’ coach did address the Hylton team as a whole, letting them know he’d be through the school during the spring evaluation period.
“Coach McCardell seems like a pretty cool guy,” said Williams, who indicated he’d likely be a receiver or possibly a defensive back at UMD. “I’m probably going to sit down with him later on at some point, and then I’ll find out where I stand with [the Terps]. Right now I’m not exactly sure how heavily they’re going to recruit me; I think they want to see what I do at camp and maybe some senior film. I’ll have a better idea after I talk to Coach McCardell.”
Williams said the rest of his team seemed to have a good time in College Park as well. He said Slade, who has close to 20 offers as a freshman, “was pretty excited” about the visit.
“I can’t speak for Ricky, but I do know he enjoyed himself and is high on Maryland right now,” Williams said. “But he’s still very young, and he usually likes every school we visit.”
As far as other suitors are concerned, Williams said Wake Forest is probably closest to offering next. He said the Wake staff is in close contact and has suggested they’d ante up after he attends a one-day this summer.
So far, Williams has visited Wake, UMD, N.C. State, Penn State, Duke, Virginia, JMU and Richmond. He’ll return to JMU and NC State later this March, followed by Va Tech. He then plans to attend one-days at Maryland, Tech, Wake, Duke and others in the region.
“Right now a lot of schools are evaluating where they think I’ll fit [position-wise],” Williams said. “I know Fordham and JMU have offered me for quarterback, but Wake, N.C. State and schools like that, they’re saying ‘athlete.’ So we’ll see what happens.
“My intentions are to try and get a shot at playing quarterback in college, but I’m always open to converting my position if that’s what I have to do.”
Last year, Williams passed for 1,200 yards, rushed for 850 and recorded 26 total touchdowns.
Emerging ATH Williams Visits CP, Looks For Offer
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