Tennessee in the mix for elite 2005 prospect

Eleanor Roosevelt High School (Maryland) football coach Rick Houchens is one cool customer. Most coaches would be pulling their hair out over losing the senior superstars that Houchens will lose this year. But Houchens remains calm, because he's got a not-so secret weapon in junior Derrick Williams.

"I've been coaching in High School Football for 12 years, and I have never seen or even watched a player like Derrick," Houchens beams. That's pretty high praise considering the talented seniors Houchens coached this year alone. Derrick Harvey, who is one of the top recruits in the nation and recorded 31 sacks from his defensive end position as a senior, Trey Covington, another top defensive end who has already committed to Maryland, and Jared Gaither, a mammoth defensive tackle who is also committed to Maryland, were all heavily recruited throughout their senior years. But the recruiting battle for Williams could be even more intense.

Williams is a quarterback for Roosevelt mainly because Houchens wants the ball in the hands of his playmaker. In his junior campaign, Williams rushed for 1362 yards and 13 touchdowns, as well as accounting for 557 yards and six touchdowns through the air. Williams has played many positions at Roosevelt however, including wide receiver, cornerback, free safety, and has even dabbled as a return man.

Williams is not likely to line up under center once he goes to college. Williams has outstanding athleticism, clocking a 4.29 fourty yard dash at the Penn State Nike camp, according to Houchens. With his blazing speed and ability to break open a game, his best fit is probably at wide receiver. Williams is a legitimate 6-1 and still may have some growing to do as well.

Maybe even more impressive than his physical gifts is his drive to be the best. "The thing that I respect the most about him is that the bigger the challenge, the harder the competition, the harder he works," Houchens notes. "He is going to leave every ounce of blood, sweat and tears on the playing field." Houchens also points out that Williams has a dynamite personality to match his explosive play on the field. "The thing that separates him from the rest, he's the nicest kid you'll ever meet.

When they took the All-Met pictures for the Washington post, you look at all the players and they've got their game faces on, and he's got a smile on. He's so polite, just a 'yes sir, no sir' kind of guy." There are no "can't-miss" prospects in recruiting anymore, but with his physical prowess, competitiveness, and million dollar personality, Williams is well on his way to becoming a superstar.

The Volunteers are one of many teams to offer Williams. Besides the Vols, Williams holds offers from Florida, Ohio State, UCLA, and Maryland, among others. So how does Tennessee sit for the junior phenom? "He loves them," Houchens says of Williams's interest in the Big Orange. "I would think that right now, the top four schools that he has a really good early on interest in are Texas, Tennessee, Florida and Miami." The Volunteers do have an advantage in the fact that Houchens and defensive backs coach Larry Slade are long time friends.


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