A four-star prospect the strong-armed Williams committed to Illinois in September, but has since reopened the recruiting process. He visited North Carolina on Nov. 11 and is slated to take his official visit to IU next weekend. The Vols will need to make a very good impression to close the gap.
"I am visiting mainly to make sure," he told Scout.com's Miller Safrit. "I think I owe it to myself to see what everybody else has to offer and make sure that I am 100 percent solid."
Williams is regarded as perhaps the best dual threat quarterback in the country.
Also set for his official visit to UT is linebacker Thaddeus Gibson of Euclid, Ohio. Rated No. 7 at his position by Scout.com, Gibson, 6-3, 205, 4.55 is an ideal fit for Tennessee's defensive system at outside linebacker. The fact the Vols lose a pair of starters on the outside (Omar Gaither and Jason Mitchell) should help their chances.
As a junior for Euclid High School near Cleveland, Gibson recorded 67 tackles, 13 sacks, 25 QB hurries and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. As a senior, he added 14 more sacks and returned a kickoff for a touchdown to help lead Euclid to a 7-4 mark.
Gibson is athletic, strong, versatile and a relentless defender. He bench presses 330, squats 400 and has a 36-inch vertical leap.
This will be Gibson's second visit (Michigan, Nov. 11). He is also considering offers from Ohio State and Penn State. The importance of signing Gibson was amplified recently when JC linebacker Larry Grant, considered a lean to Tennessee, gave a commitment to Florida after a visit last week.
In other recruiting news:
• Five-star linebacker prospect Josh Tatum of Oakland, Calif., who has Tennessee listed with Miami and USC as his leader will visit the Trojans this weekend. He visits California on Dec. 10. If the Vols are still in contention after that it would be an upset.
• Both No. 2 running back Stefon Johnson of Los Angeles and Sean McCoy of Harrisburg, PA., list USC as their leaders, although Tennessee remains on their list of favorites. Signing both may be tough even for the Trojans.
• No. 7 rated running back Keiland Williams of Hargrave Military Academy has LSU as his leader. He still has UT in his top four along with Florida and Mississippi which he visited on Nov. 11. Williams has taken an unofficial visit to Tennessee and may schedule an official.
• Tennessee soft commitment Jacques McClendon was recently dropped from a five-star prospect to a four-star by Scout.com. He has been selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
• Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, No. 13 wide receiver prospect Bryan Thomas committed to Florida. He visited Tennessee in October, and also had offers from Clemson, Ohio State, South Carolina and West Virginia.
• Florida has also taken the lead for Stone Mountain, Ga., defensive end Jermaine Cunningham. The nation's No. 13 rated defensive end and one of the top pass rushers in the country visited UT on Nov. 11.
• The Gators also picked up a commitment from No. 22 cornerback Jacques Rickerson of St. Augustine, Fla. He visited UT on Oct. 28.
• The Vols have worked their way into contention for Muskogee, Okla., defensive tackle Derek Burton, 6-3, 245, 5.00, who is rated No. 13 at his position by Scout.com. He has 18 sacks so far this season and his seen his stock skyrocket. Burton said UT coaches came to his school on Monday and that he has decided to take an official visit to Knoxville.