Pitt Lands Clairton Standout

As we predicted early this morning, there was a very good chance that Clairton standout Manny Williams would be a Panther by lunch time and that prediction has come to fruition. Williams made the call at about 1:30 p.m. and here is what he had to tell us about his decision.

Clairton, Pa., saftey/linebacker Manny Williams was just happy that he had a few MAC offer, but deep down inside he knew he had what it took to play for a BCS school. Today, his odyssey is complete as Williams accepted an offer from the Pittsburgh Panthers.

"I just called Greg Gattuso like two minutes ago and told him that I want to be a Panther," Williams said. "He was very excited and so am I. I love the city of Pittsburgh and I will do whatever it takes to help them win."

Williams, 6-1, 205-pounds, visited Pittsburgh this morning with Clairton assistant Jim Ward. After seeing what he needed to see he felt it was the right time for a decision.

"They showed me the campus, I met the coaches and a few of the players," Williams explained. "Everyone is I like a family there. I met Nate Nix, Larod Stephens-Howling and Mike McGlynn. They were all very friendly.

"The coaches are what sold me. They make you feel like they care about you as a person and not just as a player. I feel like I could come to them anytime I need to. They want you to graduate and be a student just as much as they want you to be a player."

Williams' versatility is well documented and that is one reason why the Panthers coveted him so much, but Williams say's they have a plan for him.

"They said it all depends what I grow into," he said. "I'll start out as a safety and then we'll see what happens from there."

One area of his game that Williams takes a lot of pride in is special teams and that is an area where most feel he can contribute at right away.

"I love punt blocking," Williams informed. "I love special teams. A lot of people don't realize that you can change a game with special teams. I work on it everyday. How to attack angles and take the ball right off the punters foot." A few months ago, Williams was a virtual unknown and to this point his name is still not prominent on some recruiting sites, but he is very happy with his rise to prominence over the past few months.

"It feels great," he said. It's a wonderful feeling. They told me to come to camp and prove myself and that is what I did. I am always trying too prove myself.

It helps that Williams had the backing of his parents and his efforts to stay close to home.

"My parents are real excited," he said. "I can see my family anytime I need to. I am a Pittsburgh guy and I want to help Pittsburgh win. My dad was real proud and happy that I chose Pittsburgh. My mom is just happy that I am getting an education."

Williams is glad the recruiting process is behind him and he feels he will have no trouble honoring his pledge to the Panthers.

"I wanted to get it done early," Williams explained. "You never know what can happen in football, you can get injured and lose it all. I wanted to be a Panther and I am a Panther and my recruiting is over."

Williams and his Clairton teammates will be in action this weekend at the annual Pitt passing camp. The camp is a 40-team 7-on-7 tournament that takes place over two days.

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