Williams Sets The Tone For Elizabeth O and D

At Elizabeth High in New Jersey, all three linebackers racked up over 100 tackles this season en route to a state championship. Opponents had trouble blocking the second level of the Elizabeth defense with 6-foot-3, 280-pound Hafis Williams taking up a couple blockers. A gap eater, Williams will be one of the most sought after defensive tackles in the 2008 recruiting class.

When Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis was making the rounds of his home state back in January, he stopped by Elizabeth to get a look at Williams.

"That was an exciting day," Elizabeth head coach Chet Parlavecchio stated. "The student body, everybody was excited. Everyone sees Charlie on TV a lot. Everyone knows he is a local guy, and it was good to see him come by. I've known Charlie for years, long before he was at Notre Dame, and it's nice to see a local guy do well.

"He liked Hafis a lot. We sent him film, and they are probably evaluating the film as we speak. I know (Irish assistant) coach (John) Latina recruits the area, and he really liked Hafis."

Williams is doing well himself. He has seven scholarship offers including ones from Maryland, Boston College and Virginia. He just attended Rutgers junior day, and has had several other coaches drop by the school.

"A great kid first, and that is what I think impressed Charlie the most, and I think that is what impresses all the other schools," Parlavecchio explained. "His priorities are in order. He wants to win another championship before he leaves. He is a captain next year and is responsible for the performances and effort of his teammates, and he is ready to handle those things."

Williams was obviously ready to handle anybody in the trenches as a two-way star. On defense, when he wasn't giving the linebackers running room, Williams was racking up 68 tackles with roughly 20 coming for loss including six sacks.

Elizabeth High plays a 4-3 defense, but Parlavecchio thinks Williams could definitely play at a high level in a 3-4 scheme.

"There is no doubt," Parlavecchio stated. "He is 280 pounds now. He is weight room strong. He is going to be a big powerful player. Has great pad level, plays well with his hands.

"He is also an excellent pass rusher. From the outside he is incredible Wherever you are going to attack us, that's where we put Hafis."

Sounds like the same philosophy on offense.

"He leads everything we do in our running game, we run behind him," Parlavecchio said. "He can play guard or tackle."

While Weis and Notre Dame is interested in Williams, Paralavecchio hasn't talked with Williams about his specific interest in the Irish.

"We are taking things day by day. He is interested in everything. This is an exciting time in his life."

Paralavecchio reported that Williams has a 3.2 GPA, a mid-400 pound squat and a mid-300 pound bench press.

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