The Thing About Ming

It speaks volumes about his versatility that when college football super powers look at William Ming of Athens, Ala., they see a solution to their problems, even though they all seem to have different issues to address.

Some see the 6-foot-4, 250-pound as a defensive end capable of pressuring signal callers. Some see him as a potential inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Others see a defensive tackle in the making. More than a few see him on offense as an agile tight end or physical H-back.

They all see the young man with the Norwegian looks and the Oriental name as a hardworking, multitalented, no-risk, high-caliber prospect, who has a full-throttle engine regardless of where the plays. He is also a force of nature in the classroom where he boasts a 4.0 GPA.

"William is the type of guy you've got to have if you going to have a successful program," Athens Head Coach Alan Creasy said. "He's an extremely talented player. He's big, he's strong and he runs well. He does all the things you would expect from someone recruited at the level he's being recruited. But the thing that sets him apart from the others is his work ethic and the speed at which he plays. Hey he never slows down. He's constantly moving when he's on the field. He plays with a high level of intensity. He's extremely intelligent. He understands good things happen to you because you do things the right way."

As a junior William Ming recorded 77 tackles, including 17 for loss with eight sacks and a forced fumble. He was named Decatur Daily All-Area Defense First Team 4A-6A for his play. In 2006 Ming posted a game-high total for tackles in the state championship contest. That set the stage for a junior season in which opposing offenses chose not to oppose Mr. Ming, who might show up anywhere along the line of scrimmage.

"He's very versatile, he's a very athletic player," said Coach Creasy. "He plays tight end, he plays the slot receiver, forces well. Then of course he plays defensive line. I tell you he played six different positions in our front seven, everywhere but middle linebacker. He catches the ball extremely well. As a matter of fact he's being recruited by several schools as a tight end."

Notre Dame is one of the schools interested in MIng as a tight end and has extended an offer. He took an unofficial visit to South Bend this spring as well as trips to Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge He has also been offered by Auburn, Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Florida State and Clemson have both offered and further cloud his field of finalists. Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are other SEC squads to offer.

Ranked No. 25 in the nation's defensive end crop by and a top 300 player overall with a four-star rating, Ming has many characteristics in common with current Vol starter Wes Brown who played his high school ball for Creasy at Athens High School.

"He (Ming) was an eighth grader when Wes was here," Creasy said. "He plays with the same type of intensity and he's the same type of kid."

Creasy has a discerning eye for talent and has the same confidence that MIng will be a success at the next level as he did for Brown.

"It's not a surprise to any of us," he said of Brown. "We all knew he was going to go up there and do well. William is the same type of guy. He's going to be there doing what he's supposed to do every day. If Wes was at a program any length of time he was going to get a chance to play."

Tennessee would like to give Ming another chance to prove Creasy knows a player when he sees one.

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