Below are selected excerpts from my conversation with Coach Houchens. More comments can be found in the May issue of GoBlueWolverine the Magazine. Check back tomorrow for comments from Derek.
On where Derrick ranks amongst the players he has coached:
"This is my 7th year at Roosevelt and during my time here we’ve placed like 92 kids in college. Probably 32 of them have been to major division 1’s. We usually average 3 per year. This past year we had 4 guys. Derrick Harvey is going to Florida. We have kids in just about every conference. Derrick is #1 on the list out of all of the kids we’ve had here. The thing that separates him from the rest is I’ve had some great ones that have played both ways, but they’re more dominant in one aspect than the other. Derrick is the only kid since I’ve been coaching that plays every position at an elite level. He's ranked #1 in the nation for a reason!"
"Every time he touches the ball he is either throwing for a touchdown or running for one. On defense at corner he’s making picks and scoring on them. On punt returns, which he never did before this year, he’s scoring on them. As a sophomore at receiver he takes a slip screen and just runs away from everyone for 58 yards. He’s that blessed of an athlete that if you leave your seat at any moment you might miss a spectacular play. I’ve had to send out 68 tapes on that kid."
Coach Houchens and Derrick Williams
On where he sees him playing in college:
"I see him playing more on the offensive side. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a heck of a corner, especially in man coverage. He loves the challenge of strapping a guy down, especially when he goes to combines that have one-on-ones. He’ll sit back and look for the top guys and then go match up with them. That’s just what makes him go. And he’s not one of those cocky guys that’s going to do a lot of talking. He’ll get fired up on the field and play every play like it’s his last, but when the competition is over everything is as nice as it can be."
On where Michigan is talking about they would use him:
"From my early conversations with Erik Campbell, they’re viewing him initially as a receiver. But I think that what a lot of people are settling on are as a receiver and a punt-returner because he’s so dangerous. The feedback that we got from Coach Lilly at Florida State after they viewed his film was they saw Peter Warrick and Anquan Boldin, except faster."
On Derrick's passion to be the best:
"He went to the Nike Camp at Penn St. last year and ran a 4.29 and then in June we went to Texas’ camp and he ran a 4.27 with Texas people timing. And the special thing about him as a side note about his competitive edge is…he was ticked! He wanted to run like a 4.1!! He’s one of those guys that just wills things to happen. That’s how passionate he is. He’s like an offensive Ray Lewis. You know how Ray Lewis plays with that outlandish passion? He’s like that!"