Aggie fans in the mid-to-late 1990's enjoyed watching one of the most exciting playmakers in school history. At 5-foot-7 tall, the diminutive Dante Hall many times was the biggest impact on the field. As a versatile running back, Hall consistently made tacklers miss with an array of super-natural moves and jitterbug quickness. Those skills also made Hall a dangerous kick and punt returner who is now tied for second on the all-time NFL touchdown returns list with 12.
Sharpstown defensive back and kick returner Lakendrick Williams is doing his best Dante Hall impersonation at the high school level. In his junior season alone, the 5-foot-9, 170-pound returned 11 kicks for touchdowns including a high school record 108-yard return on a missed field goal against Austin High School.
"I have good vision," Williams said. "I see the field and the running lanes open up and I just turn on the burners and go. It's something instinctive I guess."
It's that combination of quickness, 4.43 forty speed, and the ability to anticipate what's coming next on the football field that has several D-1 programs interested in his services. However, one school that knows something about smaller playmakers has jumped to the front of the line with a written offer. Texas A&M came forward last week with an offer for the speed athlete.
"A&M offered me this past week and I'm pretty excited about it," Williams said. "Coach Malone has been recruiting me and we're close. We both grew up in the same environment and I know where he's coming from."
But what has the defensive back most excited is that the Aggies see him as a cornerback and a return threat. In fact, the staff sees Williams as someone who can step in and fill the spot once occupied by the two-time pro bowl returner almost a decade ago.
"Coach Malone said they haven't had a returner that can make defenders miss in a long time," Williams said. "He said I remind them of Dante Hall. I was felt honored by that."
Williams isn't just a returner. While he played some running back and wide receiver, it was cornerback that his high school coach wanted him to play and where he thought his talented player could contribute the most. He finished his junior campaign with over 50 tackles, eight pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries, and two interceptions.
"My coach said that with most teams passing now, he wanted his best athlete at defensive back," Williams said. "I adjusted to the position quickly. I have a good instinct about reading receivers and anticipating what they are going to do and breaking on the ball."
Given his 5-foot-9 frame, the Houston area native realizes that to successfully take his game to the next level he must improve his vertical jump and go up with the taller receivers. As a result, Williams is lined up to not only work out during the track season, but he also will be working out with a personal trainer to improve his vertical and other areas of conditioning.
"You always have to work at getting better and improving," Williams said. "I need to keep getting stronger and faster, and more specifically I need that vertical leap to compete with the taller receivers in college."
Despite receiving significant interest from Oklahoma State, Purdue, Florida, Kansas, Kansas State, and TCU among others, it appears the Aggies' early offer may pay off in the near future with a verbal pledge.
"If all goes well, I'll probably commit to Texas A&M when I go up there with my mother on Wednesday," Williams said. "She's been to A&M before and she's excited about the offer, but she just wants to go up and meet the coaches and the staff before she gives me the okay. She wants to feel comfortable with them."
Williams promised to contact the Aggie Websider after his visit on Wednesday to give us any official news on his commitment, so stay tuned.
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