Darnell Williams, a 6-2, 185, pound wide receiver and defensive back, grew up an Ole Miss fan in Gulfport, MS.
And even though he had to temporarily leave the Mississippi Coast due to Hurricane Katrina, he knew he wanted to come back "home" eventually.
After committing to continue his football career at Ole Miss, he's getting his wish.
"When you are from the Coast, you are either for Southern Miss, MSU or Ole Miss and I was always an Ole Miss fan," said Williams. "Just because I had to move because of Katrina didn't meant my heart wasn't back home in Mississippi."
Williams settled in nicely at Winter Park (FL) - his alternate home. Especially in football.
As a senior, he amassed over 800 receiving yards and scored 11 touchdowns on offense. At corner and safety, he had four interceptions and over 40 tackles.
Darnell also returned kickoffs and punts.
"I didn't get a lot of rest, but I love playing the game, no matter what position," said Williams, who said he was clocked at 4.5 in the 40 the last time he ran. "I was willing to do whatever they asked me to do."
For his play as a senior, Williams was named the runnerup for Orlando Player of the Year and the #36 player in Florida by the Orlando Sentinel. He was also the Orlando Player of the Week twice in a row.
"I was pretty proud of those accomplishments," he continued. "It's good to get some recognition when you do something well."
More recently, Darnell played in two all-star games. In the Central Florida All-Star Game, he played for the West squad and had three catches for 120 yards, including a 70-yard TD. He was named the MVP of the game.
After that, he played for the North squad in the Florida All-Star Game. His team won both games.
"It was an honor to play in both of those games, but the big thing was that I was on the winning team both times," he explained.
Darnell was offered by Kentucky, Central Florida and Ole Miss during his recruitment. He chose the Rebels today.
"I'm very happy and am looking forward to my college career. I am going to concentrate on two things now - my grades, which are already pretty good, and getting bigger, stronger and faster for college football," the personable Williams noted.
He says he chose the Rebels partly because of his childhood affection for Ole Miss, but there was more to it than that.
"I really liked the players, the coaches and the facilities, but the biggest thing for me was the new FedEx Academic Center that will be open when I get to Ole Miss. That is really going to help the athletes on campus and I know it will help me," he said. "I'm coming to Ole Miss to get an education and to play football and I think I will get the best of both worlds there."
He said the Ole Miss coaches have talked to him about playing on both sides of the ball until his best position is determined. He also said he does not have a preference.
"As a receiver, I think I'm kind of a mismatch for most DBs. I'm 6-2 and can run. If they are shorter than me, I can outjump them for the ball. If they are my height, I can usually outrun them," he stated. "I think I am close to being ready to contribute on that level. I know I will have to cut down on mistakes and get used to the speed of the college game, but once I am exposed to the college game, I will be fine."
Darnell is rated a three-star recruit by Scout.com and claims a 2.47 GPA / 16 ACT.
Rebs land Darnell Williams
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