Coach Speak: Ohio State Running Back Commit Antonio Williams

BuckeyeSports.com's Coach Speak series featuring Ohio State commitments from the class of 2016 continues with New London (N.C.) North Stanly head coach Scott Crisco, who coaches four-star running back Antonio Williams.

BSB: What traits allow him to be so successful?

Crisco: “I think as far as on the football field, he’s the total package. He passes the eye test. He’s a big, strong runner and he got timed at our state combine for the Shrine Bowl and got clocked at 4.4, so that’s faster than he’s been in the past. On the field, he’s a leader. He’s been a leader for four years. Even as a freshman, he was a leader.”

BSB: How have you seen him improve over the course of his high school career?

Crisco: “Kind of going back to the same thing about being a leader, he was here as a freshman and had one goal since he’s been a freshman and that’s to play Division I football. It’s been interesting to watch him develop as a leader. It’s hard to be a leader when you come in as a freshman, but I’ve really watched him take on that leadership role the last few years, almost as much as a coach. He’s like a coach on the field for us. He just knows what to say to the boys, and he’s the heartbeat of the team.”

BSB: When did he show signs of being a guy who could be a coach on the field type of player?

Crisco: “Probably the beginning of last year. He took the team under his wing. He just has that drive. He’s the first one in the weight room in the morning and the last one to leave. This year we’ve got one good freshman running back and he’s taken him under his wing. After practice he stays and works with him and when we’re watching film he makes it a point to explain why he cuts a certain way or what he’s thinking. He’s taken on a coaching leadership role with our younger kids. I’ve seen it a lot more this year, but he did some of that last year too.”

BSB: When did you realize he could eventually be a player of this caliber?

Crisco: “His sophomore year. He made unbelievable play after play and was putting up big numbers. We started going to prospect camps and comparing him to other people, he just stood out. He always stood out. His personality makes him that way and his physique makes him that way. His sophomore year is when I started to say, ‘Man, this guy’s got something special.’”

BSB: Is there a memorable play or performance that demonstrated to you just how good he could be?

Crisco: “This is going to sound like a coaching cliché, but I’ll be honest with you: He makes a play like that every single game. There’s not a single game where he hasn’t made a play where even us on the sidelines, we’re almost like fans in the stands saying, ‘Oh my goodness!” and the crowd goes crazy. He does that at least once or twice a game. He has that ability to stop on a dime and makes people look like they’ve never tackled before.”

BSB: How would you describe his work ethic?

Crisco: “His work ethic is what has gotten him to where he is today. He has been that way since middle school. I coached him years ago when he was in fourth grade in youth league, and his work ethic has not changed. That’s as true in the classroom as it is on the field. He has a 4.2 grade-point average and is in National Honor Society. His work ethic is unlike anyone else I’ve seen in my entire life. I tell all these college recruiters that you have to kick him out of the weight room. If it doesn’t make him better on the football field or in the classroom, he doesn’t do it. He stays away from it.”

BSB: How has he handled the attention and the recruiting process?

Crisco: “He had a lot of interest his freshman year and was actually offered by a couple universities here in our area, but his sophomore year is when he started getting a real big national limelight. He’s handled it really well for a 17-year-old kid. Now, this year, he’s learning the business part of it. He does his homework. If a school was checking him out, you better believe he was doing his homework on them. He’s a very cerebral type of player.”

BSB: What did Ohio State tell you they liked about him?

Crisco: “They like his explosiveness and think he can be an every down back. That's what I've been told. Of course, him being such a great student of the game and in the classroom – he takes all honors classes – I think they like that. He's not going to be a person that you have to stay on and make sure he goes to class and make sure he goes to workouts. In fact, he'll be the one making sure his teammates are on time. I think that’s what really caught a lot of people’s attention.”

BSB: How would you describe his personality?

Crisco: “When he’s in the locker room or in the hallway, he’s like a typical teenager. He gets along with everybody. He doesn’t hang out with a certain crowd. He has a personality that everybody is attracted to. He’s a likeable kid. But when he steps on that football field, it’s all business and he flips a switch. He’s a big, physical downhill runner and he thrives on contact. When he steps on the field, it’s all business. He makes sure his teammates know it’s all business. He has that personality off the field that everybody is attracted to.”


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