In September 2013 he gave a commitment to play football at Tennessee. In February that verbal agreement became official with a signed National Letter of Intent. On March 27 he earned the right to vote. This May, he moved from Hampton, Georgia, to Knoxville.
For Preston Williams, being a Tennessee Volunteer has been a long time coming.
“I’ve been waiting on this,” the Scout five-star prospect told InsideTennessee. “It’s a great opportunity. I felt like it took a long time to come, but I’m glad it’s here.”
When asked what the lengthy wide receiver desires the most about being on Rocky Top: “Practice.”
The game plan for Team 119: “We’re going to win us a championship.”
Never short on confidence, the Scout No. 1-ranked wide receiver in the 2015 class doesn’t plan on letting a pair of torn knee ligaments suffered late last fall slow down his progress.
“My knee’s doing good. I should be back…I starting cutting probably in June. Right now I’m running a straight line,” said Williams, who’s been partaking in distance runs and wind sprints.
Coach Butch Jones won’t hold back with expectations when Williams and his teammates start banging heads on Haslam Field come August.
"Well, Preston is very confident and flamboyant at times,” Jones said, “but I think that's what makes him the player that he is. He has great, great confidence, has a great skillset. He believes in his ability and usually the great ones are wired that way. You know they have a self-confidence about themselves, an expectation to be the best that you can possibly be. And Preston expect to be the best every time he steps on the field."
In his final two years at Lovejoy (Ga.) High School, Williams caught 99 passes for 2,318 yards with 27 touchdowns. It will be up to passing game coordinator Zach Azzanni to get the freshman to forge immense talent into orange-clad TDs.
The relationship with Azzanni was a factor in Williams’ signing with Tennessee. The 18-year-old knows the expectations his position coach has not only for him but for their entire group.
“It’s good,” Williams said of his relationship with Azzanni. “It’s great. It’s really great.
“He’s gonna push you, he’s going to yell at you, he’s going to get in your butt, but you know he’s going to help you at the end. He’s always looking out for the wide receivers. That’s his crew. We’re all like his kids.”
Charged with launching the football downfield to Williams is a fellow Peach State product, Joshua Dobbs. Once competitors, now teammates, Williams knows hooking up with the Alpharetta product could equal dances on the checkerboards.
“I’m excited,” Williams said. “I mean I played against Josh in high school. Never got to be on the same field with him, same side with him. I’m excited to see what that’s like. We can be that duo.”
Combined with other former prep All-Americans such as Alton Howard, Josh Malone and Marquez North, Tennessee could have a deadly group of playmakers catching passes in 2016. The chemistry and talent combination of the group, along with the right arm of Dobbs, should give the Vols a chance to outscore more opponents than they have in years.
“I’ve got a good relationship with all the receivers,” the 6-foot-4, 190-pounder said. “We’re a big family. We look after each other. We’re all positive, all positive vibes.”
On September 15, the Big Orange takes on Bowling Green.