Williams Becoming Closer with Porter

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- When Larry Porter filled the void created by Randy Jordan's departure, it became important for North Carolina pledge Antonio Williams to develop a strong bond with the Tar Heels' new running back coach.

"I was really close with Coach Jordan," Williams said. "I had been talking to him since eighth grade. When he left, it did affect me.

"Coach Porter, he came in and took over that role and we're just as close now as Coach Jordan and I were."

Primarily, Williams, a 5-foot-10, 176-pound running back from New London (N.C.) North Stanly, and Porter have built their relationship through weekly phone conversations.

"We just talk about grades, school, and family, and all that stuff," Williams said. "It's just like he's a friend and not just a coach."

Williams has spoken to Porter in person on two occasions – a junior day followed by UNC's Spring Game.

"[The Spring Game] was good because I got to experience more like I was on campus than like a recruit," Williams said. "It showed me what's in store for me in the future."

Chapel Hill was crawling with future Tar Heels the day of the spring game. Instead of hanging out with fellow North Carolinians, Williams elected to spend time with a group from Florida that consisted of Ronnie Harrison, Andre Smith, and Williams Sweet.

"I knew they were out of my state and I don't see those guys as much," Williams said. "I see Corey [Bell] at camps and I see Carl [Tucker] a little bit. I don't see those [Florida] guys as often and I wanted to build that relationship. I got their phone numbers and now we text and everything.

"It was cool because he showed me what I'm going to see in the future. It showed me what kind of guys I'm going to surround myself with. And I'm comfortable with those guys. I'm not going to be in a situation where I'm not comfortable."

The spring game also provided Williams a peek at how the UNC staff plans to take advantage of a loaded running back depth chart.

"With Elijah [Hood] it showed me that – and I already knew this – that the coaches don't really care if you're a freshman or not, they're going to put you out there," Williams said. "My goal is to play a lot as a freshman.

"And they put the running back into the offense in a good way. We pass block a lot and we catch passes."

Williams will return to UNC on June 7 and then again for Fedora's Freak Show.

"My parents and I, we wanted to see the dorms – we haven't seen the dorms yet," Williams said. "So on June 7 we're going to do a full campus tour including the dorms and just talk to the coaches.

"At the Freak Show, I'm just looking forward to dominating. Anytime I'm competing in any football event, I want to dominate. And I just want to get to know Coach Porter better from the coaching point of view."

Williams's verbal commitment hasn't prevented North Stanly, a school with about a 600-student enrollment, from being a hot spot for college recruiters during the Spring Evaluation Period.

"Actually, it has blown up a little bit more," Williams said. "I'm actually getting more schools now – and I don't understand that.

"[Recruiters] ask me about my commitment and I tell them I like other schools but that's just me as a football player, but I tell them I think Carolina is best fit for me – that's where I think I'm going to be the most successful at. I'm still a Tar Heel – I'm still committed."

The list of coaches that have visited North Stanly the past couple of months include Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. Wake Forest, which ironically hasn't visited North Stanly, is the only school to have actually offered Williams during the Spring Evaluation Period.

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