Mario Williams, the 6-6, 250 lb DE from Richlands, NC, has had a lot on his mind these days. He has been trying to decide where to play college ball. He narrowed it down to four schools: North Carolina State, Clemson, Tennessee, and Ohio State. Although he verballed with NCSU during his junior year, he decided to keep his options open. Coach Wilson explained it this way, "He committed to NC State the Fall of his Junior year to get the pressure off, so he could concentrate on football. He wanted to explore his options. Mario had never been on a plane. He had never been on a subway before today. By opening things up, he was able to see things and places he had never seen."
Jamie Newberg, from TheInsiders.com and Fox's Countdown to Signing Day, knew Mario had a lot of ability from the first time he scouted him. "Mario Williams is a very good athlete. He has terrific size, speed and quickness. Last season, he played middle linebacker because of injuries on his team. He will be a defensive end at the next level. On film, he moves so well. That is what stands out more than anything. You can also tell that he could very easily get much bigger. Williams has long arms. He moves well laterally and takes on blocks well. When he wants to really assert himself he is a force to contend with. You can never really tell how good someone will be when you watch them playing out of position, but based on what I saw, I would love to sign this kid to my team. As a sophomore playing defensive end, he recorded 16 sacks. The bottom line is that Mario Williams is a super athlete with size and speed."
Williams is one of the top defensive prospects in the South. On the season, he has 90 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss, 11 sacks and four blocked kicks. Offensively, he was moved to running back toward the end of his high school season and has rushed for 425 yards (55 carries) and 2 scores.
It seems like it's taken forever, but today Mario made his decision on his future. In a tape segment that will be seen on Fox Sports South's Countdown to Signing Day at 6:30 this evening, Williams announced he would sign a letter of intent and run with the NC State Wolfpack. Coach Wilson told TSW, "The Bottom Line, it came down to trust. Mario was comfortable with Coach Amato and Coach Holliday. Mario had been to every NC State home game in the last two years. He loves the facilities. And like Mario said on Countdown, he is going there to help win a national championship."
Coach Amato and his staff never gave up on Williams, even after Tennessee and Ohio State jumped into the picture. Wilson explained "The NC State coaching staff have been honest the whole time. They built that trust from Day 1. They have had an open line of communications. They recruited Mario, his mom and me. They called me almost everyday. Doc Holliday told me that he had never recruited anyone in all his years harder than he did Mario."
Mario will graduate this Thursday and will enroll at State for the spring semester so he can participate in spring practice with the team. Ranked #5 overall by The Insiders.com, Williams will almost certainly gain playing time during his freshman year. Coach Wilson said Mario has a few plans come spring. "First, he is going to NC State to graduate in four years and to become a first round draft choice. He will enroll early and get to work. He wants to get stronger and add about 25 pounds. He is penciled in to start in August if everything goes well."
To date, NCSU has signed a stellar class, and it is just going to keep getting better.