"Antonio is a difference maker to start with," North Stanly head coach Ralph Jackson said. "He's a kid that has committed himself to the weight room and the program. He's a kid that any coach in America would want to coach.
"He's more of a power running back. He's not the fastest, but I'm telling you right now once he gets down hill his first few steps are very explosive."
Williams immediately became North Stanly's starting running back as a freshman. He broke T.A. McClendon's Stanly County freshman record for rushing yards (1,412 yards) on 261 carries. He scored a total of 16 touchdowns (13 rushing) and caught 14 passes for 237 yards. Following the season, he was named a MaxPreps Freshmen All-American.
"We try to create mismatches with Antonio," Jackson said. "If we can get him on a linebacker or a safety, we don't have any worries."
By the end of his prep career, Williams hopes to own a few more records.
"I want to end my career with at least 10,000 rushing yards here," Williams said. "My goal this year is 3,000 yards and 45 touchdowns."
Clemson, Georgia, NC State, North Carolina, and South Carolina have already offered Williams. Additionally, Florida State, Michigan, Nebraska, and Vanderbilt have not only inquired, but have sent a coach to visit North Stanly during the Evaluation Period.
"The spring months were very hectic," Jackson said. "But it has calmed down somewhat... There's a lot of interest for Antonio right now. He's a kid that's going to be in high demand, because once he puts those pads on, he has the swagger and chip on his shoulder to where ‘You're not going to stop me.'"
Midway through his freshman season, UNC became the first school to offer Williams.
"I think it definitely will give them an advantage, because I feel they realized my potential early on before everyone else," Williams said. "I think after they offered me, everybody else just followed them."
During the summer prior, Williams made his first recruiting trip when he attended the Tar Heels' camp. He has now made countless visits to Chapel Hill.
"I've gotten really close with the coaching staff," Williams said. "They're like friends now. I can go up there whenever and it's like home now."
Williams won't label UNC his leader because it's so early in the process for him, but will say the Tar Heels are "up there" and "sticking out."
"I just love Coach [Randy] Jordan – how he runs his running backs up there," Williams said. "I think I can fit into that up-tempo [offensive] system. I get along great with my recruiter, Coach [Chris Kapilovic]. And it's just great how they run their football program up there."
Williams' most recent visit to UNC occurred this past Sunday. The main purpose of that visit was to allow his mother to see the school.
"That's the only school she has been to, so she says she wants me to play at North Carolina," Williams said with a laugh. "But she really liked it and plus it's close to home."
Williams' father and two sisters also made the trip and, according to Williams, "loved it also."
Sunday's visit also included Williams' first exposure to a UNC practice, as well as conversations with A.J. Blue, a fellow running back, and R.J. Prince, who also hails from Stanly County.
"That high tempo practice made me want to put on pads and get in there with the guys," Williams said.
Outside of UNC, Williams has visited Duke, Clemson, Georgia, NC State, and South Carolina. He's looking to visit Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt at some point.
Williams is a member of North Stanly's track-and-field team, participating in the 100-meter dash, discus, and high jump. His personal best time in the 100 is 11.3 seconds… Growing up, Williams was a Georgia fan, but says that won't have any effect on his recruitment.