Williams has a strong top five

Bolingbrook HS linebacker <b>Kyle Williams</b> has always had an interest in Penn State. Are they in his top five? Did he take his scheduled visit to State College last weekend?

Name: Kyle Williams
Position: OLB
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 215 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.6
Hometown/School: Bolingbrook, Il. (Bolingbrook HS)

When you receive 26 written offers from schools all over the country, what do you with all that paper?  Bolingbrook HS star linebacker Kyle Williams has decided to frame them and hang them on a wall in his house so everyone can see.  With that many prestigious offers flowing in, does Kyle have a constantly changing top five favorite schools?

"No, it's pretty much the same.  Iowa one, Miami two, Ucla three, Ohio State four, and Oklahoma five," said Kyle confidently, who added Usc at six, Maryland and Oregon tied at seven, and Penn State at eight.

Kyle can be so confident about his top schools because he has a very specific idea about what is looking for in a college.

"I'm looking for a school with great academics because I want to graduate and get my degree.  Then I'm looking for a school with a great winning tradition that is usually in a bowl every year," stated Kyle, who's putting emphasis on his official and unofficial visits.  "I'm looking for a school that sends people out to the league.  Then I'm looking school with great people that you can have fun with on and off the field."

Kyle has spent a great deal of time researching many of the 26 schools that have offered, specifically looking at graduation rates for their athletes.  Which schools have come out on top?

"Penn State does.  Iowa's all right.  Miami's pretty good.  Ucla is good.  Oregon too, they offered me a scholarship," said Kyle.

Already planning his official visits to far away schools like Ucla, Usc, and Oklahoma, Kyle has a busy schedule of unofficial visits planned in July.

"I planned on going to Penn State last week, but something came up with my dad and he had to stay in town.  So we're going to do that not this weekend, but next weekend," explained Kyle.  "I went to Iowa about two weekends ago and that went great.  It's a good place up there.  I plan on going to Miami, Fl. in the middle of July and then in a two week period from the middle of July to August, I'm taking unofficials to Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Purdue."

In late December, when juniors were just starting to emerge and become familiar to recruiting fans, Kyle stated that he really liked Penn State and they might be his top school.

"They've been a childhood favorite.  Ever since I was little, I've liked Penn State," admitted Kyle.  "I'm just interested because they had a really good season last year and I can see things are up and coming.  Coach Vanderlinden, who's recruiting me, is a great guy.  If I did go there, he would turn out being my (position) coach because he's their linebacker coach too."

"They have a winning program, Joe Paterno, and I like their uniforms--the plain look."

Although Kyle wears #11 for Bolingbrook, a number made famous in college by Lavar Arrington, his favorite player is actually another, more recent Nittany Lion star.

"Larry Johnson, the running back, that's my guy," said Kyle.  "He just plays the game.  He's tough, man.  I enjoy watching him play the game."

It's been rumored that Penn State had yet to formally extend Kyle a written offer, but Kyle explained that Penn State sent a letter on June 11th and he had it prominently displayed on the wall with the other offers.

"Coach Vanderlinden was in my school in May and he said they were offering.  Then I talked to Coach Paterno and he said they were offering and I would get the letter on the eleventh," stated Kyle, calling JoePa in early June to talk with the legendary coach.

What did JoePa talk with Kyle about?

"He told me that I'm one of the top guys that they're recruiting.  He said that they enjoy watching me play linebacker and how they want me."

So if Penn State is his childhood favorite, Larry Johnson is favorite player, and he JoePa called him personally to offer him a scholarship, why aren't the Nittany Lions ranked higher on his list?

"I get handwritten letters from Coach Vanderlinden, but it's like we kind of have a relationship and we kind of don't.  All the other schools in my top five, I talk with the coaches every Friday.  They talk to me and write me handwritten stuff, so that plays a big part because I've got to feel comfortable with you," admitted Kyle.

"I've got a strong top five, so they'll really have to impress me to break into it."

Penn State still has the opportunity to impress Kyle though, so they are not yet out of it for him.  Along with feeling comfortable in Happy Valley, liking the campus on his visit, and becoming more familiar with the coaches and players, Kyle listed on specific recruiting scenario that would really improve Penn State's standing in his eyes.

"They said they are bringing in two or three (linebackers).  I know they are high on Dan Connor too, so that would play a big part if he committed.  That would be a plus, bringing in two tough guys at linebacker," admitted Kyle, continuing that Penn State wants him at weak side linebacker and Dan at strong side linebacker.

Unlike some recruits though, Kyle has approached the recruiting process the right way, placing an equal emphasis on academics and athletics.  Did Kyle ever envision himself in a position to receive 26 offers from a who's who of colleges?

"No, I never thought it.  Even when I got to high school and I was on the freshman team my freshman year.  Even if you were good enough to start on varsity, he wanted you to play that freshman year just to get you introduced to high school football. Then if you were good enough sophomore year, you would come up and start and that's what I did," explained Kyle, who former teammate A.J. Johnson will be a freshman at Iowa this fall.  "Even after my sophomore year I thought I was going to be pretty good but last season is when I really knew."

Kyle certainly knows he has a very difficult decision ahead of him.

"Yeah it is, but I'm enjoying it," said Kyle with a laugh.

(Interview by Steve Curry)

Fight On State Top Stories