The search continues for a second tight end/H-back to pair with 2017 commit Andrew Park (Lake Braddock/Burke, Va.). The Terps’ coaches have extended a couple offers this offseason, only to see their targets commit to other colleges without visiting College Park, Md.
But maybe the third time is the charm.
On June 22, UMD offensive coordinator Walt Bell let Oklahoma native Blake Williams know he had his latest power-five offer from Maryland. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Williams, who reclassed from 2016 to 2017 and is playing out his final season at Canada Prep (St. Catharines, Ontario) after four years at Mustang High (Mustang, Okla.) -- he missed two full seasons due to a medical condition called dysautonomia and was granted an extra year -- said he was “shocked” by the look.
“When I was offered I was a bit shell shocked because Coach Bell and I hadn't really talked in a while. We were on and off with him occasionally checking in to see how I was doing, but nothing too in detail,” said Williams, who also holds offers from Syracuse, Rutgers, Illinois and UNC. “He actually did it over direct message. We were having a normal conversation, asking when I was heading up to Canada and what not. Then all of a sudden he tells me basically, 'Oh, just a [by the way], you have an offer from the university of Maryland.’
“Pretty nonchalant it seemed like. Of course, I was hyped because I'd been wanting an offer from them for a little while now, but at the same time speechless because it came out of nowhere. No set up or anything. It just happened.”
Williams first entered onto the Maryland staff’s radar after a UMD graduate assistant had clued the Terps in about the budding athlete at Mustang High. The tight end said Terps’ staffer Cooper Bassett is originally from Tuttle, Okla., and had heard about Williams’ breakout 2015 campaign after missing the previous two years.
“[Bassett] hooked me up with Coach Bell and got me on his radar,” Williams said. “I did not know Coach Bell from Arkansas State or before he got to Maryland. But I’m just extremely grateful for the offer. I really didn’t know what to say except, ‘Thank you.’”
The Canada Prep product admitted he doesn’t know too much about Maryland yet. However, he was a fan of former Terps’ great Vernon Davis and took note of UMD growing up.
“I know the offense is definitely tight end friendly and they've sent one of the best tight ends to ever play college to the NFL, Vernon Davis,” Williams said. “So seeing that he came out of Maryland opens my eyes. It’s one of the best offenses for tight ends in the nation I believe. It would be a great place to go.”
With that in mind, Williams said he would “definitely” be visiting College Park. He doesn’t have an exact date yet, but it could be sometime this summer.
“I've to get into the groove of things once I get up into Canada, but I imagine [the visit] will be pretty soon once I get up north,” Williams said.
Besides Maryland and his other suitors, Williams is receiving interest from Texas, TCU, UCLA, Oregon, Mizzou, Vanderbilt, Houston, Arkansas, Kentucky and Penn State. He imagines more schools will enter the fray once his season rolls around and his senior film is released.
“I definitely want the opportunity to play ball at UCLA and Arkansas,” Williams admitted.
The Oklahoman had taken numerous college trips as a 2016 recruit, but he called them “pointless” because, as a 2017 recruit, “it’s a whole new ballgame and the recruiting process goes back to square one.”
Williams has yet to venture out this offseason, but would like to see UMD and Syracuse coming up.
“Maryland and Syracuse are the ones that have really caught my eye. Others will as well I'm sure, but as of right now those are the two,” Williams said. “Naturally, though, since I have offers from both those schools, I've done a good amount of research on them.”
Williams has no timetable for selecting a school. He said he could potentially see himself committing late during the fall, or possibly after his senior season.
Note: In 2013, Williams was diagnosed with dysautonomia, which is a rare condition that adversely affects the nervous system. The former Mustang star, who was treated at the famed Mayo Clinic, experienced dizziness, impaired vision and memory loss. He underwent a treatment called Transvascular Autonomic Modulation and eventually was cleared to play football again 23 months after his diagnosis.
You can read more about Williams' recovery HERE.