A Special Night for Williams

Heading into last week's game, Jonathan Williams admitted that he felt like something special could happen.

Heading into last week's game, Jonathan Williams admitted that he felt like something special could happen.

"I had a good feeling, but then again I always have a good feeling before games," said Williams. "Rocky Mount has a strong defense, but I always feel like I'm trying to prove myself. I'm always trying to get better. The holes were there for me, and when they weren't, I still found them. I made some holes that night."

Williams had a huge night. Facing Rocky Mount, Williams rushed for 391 yards and five touchdowns on just 15 carries as Rose defeated the Gryphons 45-21. The win snapped a 17-game road winning streak for Rocky Mount, who entered as the state's top ranked 3-A team in the state, while also extending Rose's current winning streak to 25 games.

"It was great," said Williams. "I have never felt the way I felt running the ball in that game."

Williams broke current NC State standout and Rose alum Andre Brown's single-game rushing mark, as Brown tallied 338 yards on the ground in 2003. Does he ever hear comparisons between his running style and Brown, who was tabbed the state's top player following the 2003 season?

"Sometimes I hear people around here mention us together," Williams stated. "I hear I'm doing a little better than he did at this point, but that's about it.

"I really didn't get to follow him much when he was at Rose because I was at South Central then, but I've seen him play some at State."

Checking in at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Williams is emerging as one of the state's top senior tailbacks, and he has seen his recruitment explode.

"I made some holes that night."

"Recruiting is going great," he said. "I'm hearing from Clemson, NC State, ECU, [North] Carolina, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Wake Forest, and some others.

"So far I've got offers from Clemson, [NC] State, UNC, ECU, Maryland, and there are a couple of more, but I can't remember them right now."

Focused on helping Rose win its fourth-straight state championship, Williams has put his recruitment on the backburner for now. He doesn't have any unofficial or official visits planned, although he expects to attend a few games this fall.

"I'm still kind of undecided on the games," he said. "I went to some games last year. I went to the State-Carolina game in Raleigh.

"I'm going to try and go to Maryland and some out-of-state games when I get the chance."

Currently two programs appear to be recruiting Williams the hardest.

"NC State and ECU are really trying to get me bad," he said. "I'd say they are recruiting me the hardest."

What does he like about NC State?

"I haven't really seen them play yet this year. I went up there this summer, and I really like the coaches at State. I like how they handle the program."

Naturally, local folks would like to see Williams end up at East Carolina, the hometown school.

"There is a lot of people who want me to go to ECU," he said. "I get that feeling, but I think there are also a lot of people that want me to go to NC State, and some even want me to go out-of-state.

"My parents just want me to do what's best for me."

Also a standout defensive back, Williams says he is being recruited to play running back on the next level. This month he has fielded calls from all of the programs recruiting him, but he is in no hurry to make a decision and he doesn't even have a leader at this time.

"I'm not real sure about a favorite," said Williams. "I'll definitely decide later on. I'm just not ready to do that right now."

During Rose's 16-0 season in 2005, Williams rushed for 1,509 yards and 23 touchdowns on 132 carries, which was good for an 11.4 yards-per-carry average. He also caught nine passes for 237 yards and 3 touchdowns. Defensively, he had 32 tackles, 10 assists, four tackles for loss, three sacks, 2 forced fumbles and one interception, which was returned for a touchdown.

COACH QUOTE: "I think his strength is unbelievable athletic ability. He can run, jump and is very strong. He's a quick learner and he understands the game. I think some things that he needs to work on are holding onto the ball and maybe a little more mental toughness." -- Rose Head Coach Greg Thomas

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