Inside the Class of '08: Aaron Williams

In the Inside the Class Series, Inside Texas gives exclusive interviews, info and exclusive photos from IT photographer Will Gallagher on the Longhorn class of '08. Today: Cornerback Aaron Williams.

Aaron Williams
Cornerback
Round Rock McNeil
6-0/174/4.47
National Rank at CB: 2
Overall State Rank: 4
Star Rating: *****

An Inside Texas conversation with McNeil head coach Robert Wilcox on Aaron Williams.

Inside Texas: How has he handled the recruiting process, all of the attention, the rankings?

Robert Wilcox: Anytime you're a 16-, 17-year-old kid and you get as much acknowledgment from places, not just people, I mean it's all over, it would be very difficult for it not to go to your head. He handles it about as good as anyone I've had. He's just a part of the team, a part of the program. His mom and dad are very down to Earth. They let him know that he's getting this, but it can easily go away by doing something wrong or something stupid and they keep him grounded.

IT: What have the Texas coaches told you on what they want from him in college, in terms of position? Because he played mostly at safety for you.

Wilcox: They have not discussed that with me. They have enough things to do.

IT: Do you have a sense of how he's received by students outside of football?

Wilcox: If you didn't know Aaron was as exceptional athlete as he is, you would never know that by what goes on in school. What most people don't know is if Aaron really focused heavily on baseball, he'd probably been drafted. He's one of the best track kids in the district. If he was on our basketball team right now he'd be one of the top basketball players. He's just an exceptional athlete.

IT: How would you assess his greatest strengths?

Wilcox: He's driven to succeed. He wants to be successful. He gets very upset when he's not successful. A lot of people, sometimes, will take that, especially in football, they'll take that as he's self-centered because he's mad or he's pouting. Totally not the case. Aaron is very disappointed when he doesn't get it done the right way. If it's fourth and one, he wants the ball in his hands. It's fourth and one and they're throwing a pass, 'I want to be the guy to cover that guy.' That's the way he is.

IT: How does he interact with his teammates, in terms of leadership?

Wilcox: It's interesting you say the because I just came here from teaching a leadership class and one of the things about that is you can't just talk about it, you have to show it. Leadership is backed up through what you do on a day-to-day basis. Aaron doesn't miss practice. He got sick one week this year, I mean really, really sick. 101, 102 fever, that kind of stuff and he was at practice. Now, we didn't work him out, but he was there, he knew what was going on. It's hard for us to tell another kid who has a little bit of a problem, 'Hey, you need to be out there', when your super-star player doesn't get out there. He knows that. 'Heavy is the brow that wears the crown.' The king's always the one who has the pressure on him and Aaron knows that and he handles that real well.


Williams with his father, Anthony.

IT: Has Coach (Mack) Brown been by on his visit?

Wilcox: Yeah.

IT: Did the rest of the school find out about it?

Wilcox: No. We went through this a couple years ago with Myron Hardy and what I basically do is I tell the coaches only and the player and I don't tell any of the other kids in school because I don't think it's fair to them. What Coach Brown does is he gets with the player and he walks through the halls to where Aaron wants to take him. So we didn't make an announcement or anything, we just let him and Aaron do their thing. I think in a school as big as ours, of 2800, you're going to have a lot of people bothering him.

IT: Aaron mentioned the back contusion he suffered a year ago. Did you get a sense of how that affected him last season?

Wilcox: It bothered Aaron because, it never fails, he made it through spring football, we kept him out of contact and the first game of the year, the first game of the year he gets drilled right square in the same spot and he had to fight through it through the rest of the year. Part of it is, when you look at Aaron, he has no body fat. You get a shot on a muscle and you're a kid like him, you know you get a shot on my muscle, I've got a lot of fat in between. He doesn't. In the lower back we don't have that much fat back there anyway and it was just something that bothered him all year.

IT: Part of the reason why I brought it up, the way he talked about it, he talked about it like it was a sobering event, showing how quickly that which you value can be taken away.

Wilcox: Well, most kids think they're ten-foot tall and bullet-proof and then when you're an exceptional athlete like that and you're not able to perform up to the level that you feel like you can, it's humbling.

IT: What kind of a leader is he? Is he more a vocal leader? Is he more lead-by-example?

Wilcox: Aaron's both. The best thing I can tell you about Aaron is this: Aaron really enjoys playing sports. I mean, he enjoys playing football. If we practiced four hours a day, he's go four-fifteen. If we practiced an hour, he'd want to go for an hour and fifteen. He just likes to be out there. He likes to do it and he has fun doing it.

IT: When you look back over his career, is there a definitive play that jumps out that might give us a sense of what he's capable of?

Wilcox: Well, the one play our coaches talk about, and we knew he was special, but when we really, really realized it was when we matched up one-on-one with James Kirkendoll when James was a senior and Aaron was a junior and we didn't know going in that Aaron could just totally shut him down. They ran a speed out route and Aaron got turned wrong, in other words they went inside and Aaron turned out, but Aaron still got underneath him and made the play. Now, until that point, we didn't realize how incredibly special was. We knew he was good, but when he did that against a kid that was as good as Kirkendoll is, we knew that this guy is special.

Also see: Aaron Williams Shines in Dallas Combine

Photo Gallery: Aaron Williams

IT-TV: Aaron Williams Senior Highlights

UT Signing Day Bio: Prep All-American, all-state, all-district and all-CenTex selection who saw action on both sides of the ball … named a Parade All-American … also tabbed second-team USA Today All-USA and second-team EA Sports All-American … played in the 2008 U.S. Army All-American Bowl … ranked as the nation's top defensive back by Rivals and is a member of the Rivals top 100 national prospects … tabbed the state's top-ranked cornerback by Dave Campbell's Texas Football … a first-team member of Dave Campbell's Super Team … versatile two-year letterman and starter who saw action at DB, WR and QB … tallied 277 tackles, five INTs, 10 sacks, two forced fumbles, 12 blocked kicks, over 600 all-purpose yards and 14 TDs in his final two years as a prepster … named first-team 5A all-state by The Associated Press and the Texas Sports Writers Association as a senior … also earned 14-5A all-district and all-CenTex honors that year … also voted captain by his teammates … posted 141 tackles, 10 sacks, three INTs and two blocked kicks … rushed 34 times for 257 yards (7.6 ypc) and 14 TDs … also made eight receptions for 99 yards (12.4 ypc) and completed two passes for 37 yards … returned six kickoffs for 218 yards (36.3 ypr) and one TD … his 36.3 ypr led the district … tabbed first-team all-district and second-team all-CenTex and all-county as a junior … recorded 136 tackles, five TFL, 10 blocked kicks and two INTs and two fumble recoveries … also a two-year letterman in baseball and track and field ... Born 4/23/90 in San Jose, Calif. ... moved to Round Rock shortly thereafter ... full name is Aaron Isaiah Williams ... active in community service ... has participated in mission trips and has coached little league ... started playing football when he was eight ... father, Anthony, played linebacker at San Francisco State ... uncle, Ken Taylor, played defensive back at Oregon State (1981-84) and for the Chicago Bears when they won the Super Bowl in 1986 ... uncle, Eric Townsend, ran track at North Carolina State (1979-82) ... enjoys hunting and fishing.

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Thursday: Mark Buchanan
Friday: Antoine Hicks

WEEK OF FEB. 25

Monday: DeSean Hales
Tuesday: Jarvis Humphrey
Wednesday: Justin Tucker
Thursday: Luke Poehlmann
Friday: Ryan Roberson

LAST WEEK

Monday: D.J. Monroe
Tuesday: Tre' Newton
Wednesday: Kheeston Randall
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THIS WEEK

Monday: Jeremy Hills
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All photos: Will Gallagher/Inside Texas

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