Blue-chip LB keeping his options open

Blue-chip LB Kyle Williams from Bolingbrook, IL has the attention of basically every school across America. Right now, he is keeping his options open when it comes to college. If you are an opponent of Kyle this year, you might want to be ready to get hit after reading this one.

It does not take long in talking to Kyle Williams to figure out that he is a perfect fit for the linebacker position. First, there is his size and strength -- he is 6'2½", weighs 221 lbs, benches 350, and squats 450. Then there is his speed -- Kyle was timed with a 4.56 40 at a recent Nike Camp, and this past week, his coach John Ivlow clocked him at 4.54. Toss into the mix his production on the field last season when he had 90 tackles (over 60 solo), 6 sacks, 7 interceptions, 3 caused fumbles (two of which he recovered), and 4 defensive touchdowns.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is his love of the position. Kyle loves to play linebacker. Contact for young Mr. Williams is as beloved as air.

"I love hitting," he said. "When I am playing football and getting ready to hit/tackle somebody, I just try – this might sound vicious – but my ultimate goal is to put you in the ambulance. That is just the name of the game; I am not a violent person off of the field. I want to hit somebody where the next time they see me coming they just go down without me even hitting them."

Does that sound brutal?

Yes – but that is the name of the game.

College football is not for pansies, weaklings, or the faint of heart. Ask an Ohio State linebacker what he wants to see on game day this November, and he will undoubtedly tell you that John Navarre laid out on the field with someone administering smelling salts would be a dream come true.

How much does Williams like being a linebacker with an enforcer mentality?

When asked which one he prefers – a defensive touchdown or a big hit – his voice sounded almost reverent as he immediately replied, "Ohhh… I like a big hit because that can change the tide of the game quick. When you blow somebody up and the crowd says ‘Ohhh!'"

So where will he end up? Who will win the sweepstakes for his services? Where will fans make that hushed "Ohhhhh…" sound that he craves?

Right now the race is wide open.

His leaders are Iowa, UCLA, Ohio State, Miami, Oklahoma, Maryland, Oregon, USC, Penn State, and Louisville (with the first 5 as his top 5). All of those teams have offered him in writing.

What will be the deciding factors?

"First, I am looking for a school with great graduation rates, especially African American graduation rates," he said. "That is my main goal. I want to graduate from school. I would be the first person in my immediate family to do that. Second, I want to go to a school with a great football team and great tradition – in a bowl every year. Third, I just want to go to a school with great people, people you can have fun with off the football field – a great town with friendly people."

When will he decide?

"I plan on maybe late December or early January. I am planning on getting in at least 3 visits. I have been on the Internet, doing my research. I am really going to get into that when I do my visits when I can check out the campus, the players, the coaches – everything."

There will be room for teams to squeeze into the picture and his leaders to shift as the season progresses because not only will his visits help determine where he signs, but he says "performance of the teams this fall will make a difference. My brother was a national recruit. He had all the Florida schools on him. He told me, ‘Kyle you don't want to go to a team that is not winning. It is not fun. You have the opportunity to go to schools in big time bowls every year. Go do that.' So that is going to play a big part."

In other words, circle the Iowa/Ohio State, Penn State/Ohio State, Iowa/Penn State, and the UCLA/USC games. If his desire to play for a champion is to be believed, the winners might emerge as leaders for Kyle.

A possible major: "Sports Management. Maybe Business. I am not sure. I want to be a sports agent."

Kyle's Hobbies: "I like working out. I play the video game Play Station 2003 NCAA Football. I play with the Hawkeyes and sometimes Hurricanes. I listen to smooth jazz. Bony James is my favorite."

Kyle's Academics: "I took it (the ACT) two months ago and got a 17. I have a 2.5 core. When they put my grades in from the last semester I should be qualified, but I took it again just to make sure."

Kyle on his coach, John Ivlow: "John Ivlow, he is the best coach I have ever had. He is a great coach. He is there for me any shape or form – in any kind of way, even if it does not have anything to do with football. He is on top of my grades. He contacts schools for me. He is just a great guy and great coach."

John Ivlow on Kyle: "He has been to my house. Not everybody gets invited there. He comes from a religious family - good people. He is a captain. He is a good leader and does whatever is asked. He takes the initiative and makes the phone calls to organize the running in the summer. From what we teach, he does everything we ask him to do."

Kyle on early playing time: "I am looking forward to sticking my nose in there and seeing what I can do as a true freshman. It is not important in that if I went to school and they said, ‘We are going to have you on special teams or redshirt you,' – that wouldn't kill me, but it is a goal. I think I have the size and ability to go cause some havoc my freshman year."

Where Kyle is trying to improve in 2003: "I have pretty good speed, but that is something you can always improve on. I am working on that right now. Getting bigger, getting stronger. This season, I am trying to play at about 225. I am trying to gain 4 pounds the right way."

Where Kyle projects to play in college: "I see myself as a WIL (weak side outside) linebacker. I play really good in space. I think I could play wherever they put me – even inside, but all the schools recruiting me now are recruiting me for WIL. Iowa is recruiting me to play LEO, but that is like a combination of weak side and strong side linebacker."

Greatest accomplishment off of the football field: "Being an honor-roll student and having a 3.0 GPA."

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