Notes: RB Williams, Jefferson, etc.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- One of the high-profile recruits of the 2009 class was running back De'Antwan Williams, who played early last season but then dropped down on the depth chart. Williams spoke to about what he learned from the experience. Also, tight end D.C. Jefferson had a big offseason as he transitions from quarterback to tight end, and he updates his progress.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – De'Antwan Williams carried 44 times in six games as a freshman, and he wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

Not even a red-shirt.

It wasn't only what the sophomore running back learned in games, but what he picked up from practicing with the offense rather than running with the scout team. He is hoping that translates into more production this season as Rutgers looks to settle its running back rotation.

"I'm actually happy because I got to experience it, rather than experiencing it this year and then me being in the same position I am now," Williams said. "It's the system. I'm learning the system better to where it's second nature. When it becomes second nature, that's when I can let my athletic ability take over and just play like in high school.

"I'm pretty comfortable. I'm just reviewing every chance I get to make it second nature so when my time comes I won't even have to think."

Williams rushed for than 6,300 yards and 83 touchdowns at Woodbridge (Va.) High, but had trouble getting consistent work behind running backs Joe Martinek and Jourdan Brooks.

Williams shined at times, rushing for 132 yards against Texas Southern, but also struggled to get playing time as the season wore on. He missed spring practice after undergoing knee surgery, and acknowledged it impacted how he practiced late in the 2009 season.

The way 2009 ended also motivated Williams to work hard in the offseason and refine his body. The 5-foot-8 Williams still weights 200 pounds, but it is a different weight than last season.

"I got more muscle," Williams said. "I think my speed after my surgery has gotten better. My strides and quickness are better. I don't have as much pain as I did before with my knee. It was an issue (last season), but it wasn't going to stop me from playing."

Williams also learned another lesson from the upperclassmen.

"I learned to stay humble and no matter what happens, to keep your head on straight," he said. "As long as you try, things are going to get better. You have to listen to the upper classmen.

"I was put in that situation for a reason, to make me stronger for this season, so I already know what's ahead of me and what I have to do to get to where I want to be.

Jefferson feeling Tight
D.C. Jefferson re-shaped his body in the offseason, his first as a tight end after his transition to quarterback. The 6-foot-6, 258-pound Jefferson said he is ready to make an impact on the field now that he had an offseason devoted to learning how to be a tight end.

"Right now my blocking ability is good," said Jefferson, who gained nearly 20 pounds. "Eventually, I'll be great at it. My catching has gone a long way from me doing it in the offseason, and I feel more comfortable doing it. It's coming along pretty good."

Jefferson, who made five catches last season, added the increased size and strength is producing results.

"It helps me out a lot because if I'm stronger, it helps me do a lot more on the field," he said. "I feel I can dominate if I do everything right."

Recruit watch
Among the recruits at practice was St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) offensive tackle Keith Lumpkin and Abington Heights DE/OL Morgan Craig, who holds offers from Akron and Kent State.

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