Williams Is Ready to Come In and Compete

Notre Dame defensive coordinator Corwin Brown's 3-4 personnel package calls for a nose tackle that is very big and can eat up space, or a strong kid that can be very physical with blockers on every play. Incoming freshman Ian Williams is both, and the 6-foot-2, 295-pounder proved it at the Florida high school state weightlifting championships on April 20th.

Ian Williams bench pressed 385 pounds and clean and jerked 325 pounds en route to a fourth-place finish.

"I had first but the clean jerks killed me, Williams said. "I missed on 340 and 345. I could've had it, but they slipped out of my hands."

One thing Williams doesn't want to see slip from his hands is the opportunity to start for the Irish this coming fall. And after attending Notre Dame's Blue-Gold game capping off spring practice on April 21, the Altamonte Springs, Fla., product can't wait to report to school in June.

Williams begins working for that starting spot today, Williams will start the workout program Irish coaches sent to him. He couldn't do it right away because of his team weightlifting obligations.

"The workout is going to help me out with my speed, my quickness and my lower-body strength, which I really need," said Williams, who has never maxed out on squat, but has repped 415 pounds 10 times before.

Williams arrived in South Bend for his recent visit just before midnight on Friday. He met up with the other 2007 signees and a few 2008 recruits at a set tent the next morning before the spring game. It was the first time Williams got a chance to meet most of the guys in his class, and the future Irish players talked about winning together and the team. They all got a chance to hang out on Saturday night as well.

"The class of 07, we want to come in on June 17 and make a great impact on the coaching staff and the players there, letting them know we want to win a national championship and that we are for real," Williams said. "That's what we talked about last Saturday.

"It was great. It was everything, I expected it to be. I had a great time, got to meet some people and I can't wait to get back up there for a real game."

That's because he could be starting in the next real game, the season opener against Georgia Tech. Williams will be competing with juniors Pat Kuntz and Derrell Hand, sophomore Chris Stewart and possibly Emeka Nwankwo and Andrew Nuss for playing time.

The Blue-Gold game gave Williams an opportunity to visualize how he could fit into Brown's defensive scheme.

"I have a great chance," Williams said. "I don't want to be cocky or anything like that. I'm going to come in and put in everything I got, and hopefully get some playing time. They played real good in the game, the defense looked real good.

"It's a lot more complex than high school. In high school they say line up there and go play. I know a lot about the defense, I understand the defense and the three technique and where I need to be, but the package he gave me will take some getting used to because it is new territory."

Williams received his playbook a couple weeks after inking his letter-of-intent.

When Williams first heard about the 3-4 scheme, he considered opening back up his recruitment, but after talking it over with the Irish coaches, realized this defense could be great for him. Williams, didn't know much about the 3-4 defense at first, but one of his biggest concerns was putting on weight, because he didn't like how he played at 315 pounds, a lot of it baby fat, as a sophomore. But when he trimmed down to 285 as a junior he really blossomed as a player. He was thinking the added weight would hurt him as a player.

Now Williams anticipates weighing about 315 pounds of good weight when he graduates, after Notre Dame strength and conditioning coordinator Ruben Mendoza gets his hands on him.

"I cant wait," Williams said. "I'm ready to move on to the second part of my life. I'm ready to get up there and try and make some things happen."

For now, Williams is trying to enjoy the rest of his high school experience. Last week he was the school's prom king.

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