Eleanor Roosevelt’ High’s Derrick Williams is no stranger to attention. During my visit with him last week, the Fed Ex truck pulled up to the school on two separate occasions to deliver written scholarship offers. One was from the University of Georgia and the other was from the University of North Carolina. That brought his total number of written and verbal offers to well over thirty. The amazing thing is the first team that verbally made their intentions to offer the two-way phenom did so FOUR YEARS AGO!
“I first started getting college interest in the 7th grade,” said Williams. “That year I went to Penn State and ran a 4.4. That was the fastest time they had in the whole camp. They told me then and there that right when I became a junior that my scholarship offer would be in the mail. They did just what they said they would because when I became a junior the scholarship offer was there. That 7th grade year was when I really started to notice that I had an advantage over kids my own age.”
Derrick is unique in that he is truly wide open and didn't have an allegiance to any team growing up. Not even the Nittany Lions, who were first on the scene, could get the nod as childhood favorite. “We just went up there because it’s big camp and that’s when Penn State was really producing pretty good players,” said Williams. “I didn’t grow up a fan of any particular school.”
Williams’ list shows no signs of shrinking anytime soon. As a matter of fact, it’s still growing. That said, when he finally decides to go through the process of trimming it down, there will be a few issues that play a major role. “The depth chart will play somewhat of a role because you always want to go somewhere that you can go in and play,” Williams said. “But really…if a player comes in and he’s good, he can play anyway. The thing that’s probably going to make my choice is the coach. When my brother went to North Carolina, Mack Brown left after his freshman year. That’s a big load. If you go in with one coach and another one comes in, you have to start all over. The coach that recruited him to get there wasn’t there anymore. That’s going to be a big role.”
Though he wants to play offense in college, the opportunity to play both ways is high on this young man’s priority list. In his travels to schools over the next few months that will be one of the issues he addresses with coaches. Ann Arbor will likely be on his list of stops. “Right now my father and coach Rick (Houchens) want me to visit as many schools as possible and then take my 5 official visits,” said Williams. “Michigan will probably be one of the schools we visit.”
For a young man that has been in the spotlight for so long, Derrick is amazingly grounded. He was just as down to earth as his coach indicated he would be. With all of the fanfare that has been thrown his way thus far, it’s easy to see why none of what’s happening is really wowing him at this point. He’s much more focused buckling down in the classroom on staying on pace to graduate early. “Right now I’m just really laid back,” Williams said. “Maybe later on it’ll impress me. Really the only thing that impresses me at this point is my grades. I went from a 3.14 to a 3.71 and I thought that was pretty good.”
Derrick indicated that he’s likely to choose his college destination in December.
Be sure to check out the May issue of GoBlueWolverine the Magazine for
much more from my visit with this superstar recruit.