Williams Gets Close With Teammates

At his final press conference for the 2007 season, Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis mentioned how close the recruits in the incoming class of 2008 have gotten over the year. One player however, who hadn't had the opportunity to meet any of his future classmates or form any bonds was Hafis Williams. The Elizabeth, N.J. product changed that the weekend of the season-ending football banquet.

Hafis Williams took his first trip to Notre Dame in late April, and verbally committed in early May. The 6-foot-3, 280-pound defensive tackle was unable to make it back to South Bend until he visited the campus officially the weekend of Dec. 8.

"It was excellent," Williams stated. "Had a great time out there. Met a lot of the football team. All of them were real cool and everything."

Besides the current team, 12 other players committed to Notre Dame's top-ranked recruiting class were also in town, giving Williams the opportunity to meet those guys as well. At first it was hard for him to remember who was who, but in the end he felt the closeness Weis was talking about.

"Everybody just brought me in right away," Williams said. "The whole class of 08, everyone started talking and if they didn't know you, they came up and told you where they were from and what school they played for and everything. Sometimes it would take a second when someone was talking to me, for me to remember who they were.

"It was a good opportunity to get to know them and let them know me.

"I can't wait to get there. Now that I've been out there, I didn't want to leave. But I have to finish up here, and I will be back there sooner than I think."

That Friday night during the banquet, Williams shared a table with Trevor Robinson, Michael Golic Jr. and Sean Cwynar.

"The banquet was fun," Williams said. "Seen Aaron Taylor make his speech and everything, so it was a good time."

Williams host was freshman wide receiver Duval Kamara.

"He is a real cool person," Williams said. "He is also from Jersey, so you know. We just hung out. He showed me around campus, showed me around his dorm room, and what he does out there. We just talked about what he did as a high school player and what I did as a high school player."

What Williams did this past fall as a high school player, was cap his prep career off by being named first-team all-state. He wasn't sure of his stats. He said that the Irish coaching staff envisions him at nose tackle, and he watched film with defensive coordinator Corwin Brown and defensive line coach Jappy Oliver.

"They were just breaking down the defense and showing me where I fit in and everything," Williams explained.

Williams also chatted one-on-one with Weis for a bit, attended a Notre Dame basketball game, and also spent some time with offensive line coach John Latina, his recruiter.

"Me and him are real cool," Williams said of Latina. "We got a chance to talk, and we talked about everything. I consider him one of my friends, one of my best friends."

Williams said the guy in his class he bonded with the most was California quarterback Dayne Crist. He hopes to run into a lot of those guys again for the spring game in April, if he can make it out.

"We are a real tight group, so when we go in there in June, there should be no problems so we can just focus on the goal," Williams said. "We're going to turn everything around. We're about to set the whole thing on fire, that's what we're going to do in the class of 08."

The close-knit class of 2008.

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