An all-state performer the last two seasons for Miami Trace High, Nathan Williams has received scholarship offers from Miami (Ohio) and Cincinnati. He is in regular contact with coaches at Ohio State, and receives heavy mail and occasional emails from Notre Dame and several other schools.
Williams parents divorced while he was in elementary school, and he moved with his mother to the West Coast. After a few years out there, his Midwestern roots were beckoning.
"I wasn't to comfortable with that lifestyle in California, it was too hectic for me," Williams stated.
Nothing is to hectic for Williams on the gridiron.
As a defensive end/outside linebacker this past season, Williams registered 149 tackles with 24 coming for loss including six sacks. He had eight forced fumbles, and five fumble recoveries. At running back he carried the ball 110 times for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns.
"I want to smack someone upside the head on every play," Williams said. "I just want to get to the football. I love playing linebacker and I love moving around and blitzing. That is probably my strong suit. I just have to work on my hands a little bit when it comes to shedding the blocker, but I have a nose for the football."
When Williams lived in Bakersfield, he played football in sixth grade with Eric Quick, who was two years older. Quick was real good friends with Williams older brother, and is now a freshman jumper on the Notre Dame track team. Williams made it up to South Bend for Notre Dame's games against Penn State and Michigan last season, staying with Quick.
"That was awesome, I had a great time," Williams said. "He showed me all the ins and outs of Notre Dame. He introduced me to a couple track guys and a couple football players. I got to go down on the field and tour a couple places.
"I'm hoping to make it for a couple games next season." It's a four hour drive from William's home to Notre Dame."
One of the most impressive things about Williams is his strength in the weight room, and he credits Quick for showing him the ropes when they were younger. Williams said he has bench pressed 385 pounds before, but is typically in the 340-to-360 range. He also ran consecutive 4.67 40-yard dashes at the Ohio State camp last summer.
"He was a real good athlete," Williams said of Quick. "I worked out with him a couple times and he showed me all the tricks to the weight room."
Williams took it from there.
Quick wasn't the only thing to show Williams a thing or two out there. Right before he moved back home, NFL standout linebacker Joey Porter moved down the street from him.
"We watched game tape together," Williams said. He had some buddies over and we watched the NBA Finals together. It was pretty cool."
Williams also had the eyes of NFL quarterback David Carr on him while playing Little League.
"His brother Derek was a pitcher and he would always strike me out," said Williams who also played on a nationally ranked AAU team. "That's how we met. I used to crank homeruns off every other pitcher, but he would strike me out."
The baseball and basketball days are now over. Williams runs track in the spring to get faster for football. He has decided to hang up the sneakers for good after breaking his wrist in the team's first game this season.
Going in for a lay-up on the first set of the season, a defender took a charge and Williams stuck out his arm to break the fall. The weight crashing down caused a fracture. Williams remained in the game, couldn't shoot but pulled down 16 rebounds. Soon after he had surgery and is close to 100 percent.
"I was fooling around with 275, 300 pounds in the weight room (Saturday)," Williams said of his chest workout.
While strength is not an issue, the Ohio State coaches told him they'd like to see him get a little faster. Williams will run for them at their June summer camp.
"That is what I'm training for, and I'm going to go out to some other camps and try to get my name out there a little more," Williams explained, mentioning Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State as other possibilities.
"They just told me anything below 4.7 is pretty good, but I am trying to get into the 4.5 range by their senior day."
If Williams gets his time down in that range, he might start receiving more than emails and text messages from Notre Dame.