Juan Williams: A Pure Lineman

When looking at offensive line prospects, many college recruiters often overlook talent for sheer size. Others disregard the potential size of a prospect and focus more on his individual talent. Luckily for Juan Williams, he has both.

This 6'3", 295-pounder has been a key contributor at football powerhouse Garner Senior High School for the past two years, and his combination of size and talent are guaranteed to make him a standout in his third season.

Serving as the strong side tackle from both the right and left sides last season, Williams opened up holes for a ground attack that helped the Trojans to a 9-2 record and a TAAC conference championship, which was later forfeited due to an eligibility snafu.

"We do a majority of our running behind him and our strong guards," said head coach Nelson Smith. "He's a very important part of our offensive line due to the fact that we flip-flop him to what we call the quick side. He's a big part of our team."

But the key to Williams' recruiting value is the fact that he has the talent to play anywhere on the offensive line. In fact, Smith sees him playing more at guard or center at the next level, and has said that the lineman will also see time on the defensive line this year because of his versatility.

"I think that's one of his biggest assets is his pass blocking ability," said Smith. "He's still got some work to do in the weight room, but he has the potential to get bigger and add some more muscle."

Talent-wise, coach Smith compares Williams to former Garner standout and current NC State lineman Brandon Sanders. "He's not as strong as Brandon," he admits. "Brandon's about the strongest kid we've ever had come through our program. But at 6'3", he's taller than Brandon."

"They're very comparable," he added. "Emotionally, they play the game the same way. They're laid back until it becomes game time, then they go out and play hard."

Williams admits that he does listen to jazz and gospel music to relax his mind and get focused, but when he gets on the field, he brings with him a mindset that spurs him to go the extra mile. "You've always got to be better than the person beside you," he said. "You've got to have a workhorse attitude and dominate from down to down."

Williams' strong work ethic has made him a target of several local Division I programs. But while NC State has been in touch, it appears that Duke and East Carolina have been recruiting him the hardest. Thus far, ECU has been the only school to extend an offer, but Juan looks forward working harder this season to boost his recruiting stock. And he even hinted at seeking more interest from the NC State coaching staff.

"NC State has an awesome atmosphere, and I really like their coaching staff," he said. "They have great new facilities, and every time I go there, I feel like I'm at home."

Williams has stated that he intends to take official visits to ECU, Duke and NC State, and he will be looking to make a decision in mid-September.

"He'll be a strong senior leader," said coach Smith. "All the other kids look up to him. Wherever he goes, he's sure to be successful."

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