Dominique Williams: The Breakout Man

WHEN THE QUESTION was posed, there was no hesitancy in the answer: Dominique Williams. The question was this: Which of the young guns on offense are Cougar fans most likely going to be buzzing about in 2012?

With the start of spring ball and the annual Crimson & Gray game now on the calendar for March 22 and April 21, respectively, a conversation a while back with Rich Rasmussen comes to mind regarding Williams.

"He's a lot like Marquess (Wilson)," Rasmussen had said then.

By that, he meant Williams is deceptively fast with a long stride; not extremely big (6-2, 190) but exceptionally athletic; unafraid to mix it up in traffic; and adept at catching the ball at its highest point.

It's no small compliment. Wilson is likely to be tabbed for several 2012 pre-season All-American teams after catching 137 balls for 2,394 yards and 19 TDs over the last two campaigns.

Rasmussen, who was WSU's recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach from 2008 up until the move from Paul Wulff to Mike Leach in late November, said he and the Cougar staff were intrigued by Williams' game film at Garey High in Pomona, Calif., for one primary reason.

The kid showed an ability, and willingness, to get off the ground in traffic.

It's no coincidence, Rasmussen said, that both Wilson and Williams were excellent high school basketball players. Each of them "played above the rim" and exhibited great body control, showing uncommon comfort working off the ground amidst enemy forces.

"I'm not sure redshirting him was the best move," Rasmussen quipped.

That comment stemmed from the fact Williams' biggest weakness when he arrived at WSU last summer -- lack of precision in route running—was improving by leaps and bounds as the season wore on. Moreover, it became readily apparent that Williams possessed a tremendous work ethic, what Rasmussen dubbed a "burning desire to excel."

Coming out of high school, Williams had his share of suitors, including Utah, Boise State, San Diego State and Colorado State, but not the USCs of the world.

"As far as recruiting, Garey High has been an afterthought for probably two decades," says Managing Editor Barry Bolton. "Despite double and triple teams, Dominique led them to the playoffs as a senior, the first time the school had been in many, many years, but it's not known for its football. A lot of college coaches just don't make it a regular stop."

Wilson also came from a school -- Tulare Union High south of Fresno – that isn't a traditional football hotbed. His only other BCS-conference offer was from Arizona State.

Now the two are poised to be centerpieces in Mike Leach's Crimson Air Raid.

Of course, there's the little matter of spring practices, and then August workouts – all in front of a brand new coaching staff. Positions must be fought for and earned.

The crystal ball here in February is looking awfully transparent, though. And it says Dominique Williams is the up-and-comer to watch for come Sept. 1 in Provo.

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