Williams Quietly Leading the Pack

SEATTLE - Caleb Tucker had a great feeling going into last week's Rising Stars Camp at Washington, and knew that if he fell in love with the place he would be committing to UW. That was a tough decision for a kid fresh out of Louisiana who had never been to the Northwest before. Within a day of arriving in Seattle, Tucker had all the information he needed.

"(My Dad) told me to pray about it and ask the Lord to lead me in the right direction - and this was the right direction," Tucker told Dawgman.com Friday after he was one of seven 2013 prospects to commit to Washington at the same time - something unprecedented in the world of recruiting. "So he was like, anything I want to do he was down with it. He's really excited for the journey."

A lot of it had to do with the coaches. "They were crazy," Tucker said when he told the Washington staff of his intent to play football for them. "They were very excited. Coach (Tosh) Lupoi was jumping up and down and coach (Justin) Wilcox was kind of jumping up and down, so it was pretty cool."

But there were some others that definitely played their part in getting Tucker comfortable with a long-distance college experience. Troy Williams was one of those people. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Williams, who committed to Washington three weeks to the day before Tucker did, was in attendance Friday. He wasn't just a cheerleader; Williams re-confirmed his commitment with the other seven players - Tucker, Lavon Coleman, Elijah Qualls, Andrew Basham, Daeshon Hall, Demorea Stringfellow and Poasi Moala. And when it came time to talk to the media, Williams was right there next to Tucker, never leaving his side.

"Watch out for Caleb Tucker and Troy!" exclaimed Tucker right before he left to go back to Washington's Rising Stars camp on Friday. The simple fact is, even though Qualls will rightly claim the lion's share of the credit for putting together the group commitment, Williams had his own quiet impact on the proceedings.

Go back to June 22, the day it was revealed Williams would be taking part in the most prestigious prep passing camp in the country - the Elite 11. With a national selection show on ESPN, Camp Director Trent Dilfer and his cadre of coaches - including George Whitfield, Brian Stumpf and Matt James - put together a list of the 25 best gunslingers they saw after running a series of regional camps throughout the spring. Williams made his mark at the Las Vegas camp, earning an at-large bid.

During the ESPN Elite 11 selection show, James had this to say about Williams when he was picked: "People will rally around him and it's going to be like that when he goes to college. Washington is going to be killing it in LA recruiting because Troy Williams is up there, and I want to play with Troy Williams."

Does it seem like that big a stretch to think Troy did his part to help push some of those seven Friday commits to a place where they knew they wanted to be Huskies? "I was on Stringfellow for a minute up here," Williams told Dawgman.com with a grin. "When I saw him I told him that me and him would be a great connection up here and make wonderful things happen. He's a big dude. I was on these guys tough. I met a few of them this week, as a matter of fact, coming into camp. I told 'em it's a great school, great people, great community, great everything."

Williams draws comparisons to current Washington quarterback Keith Price, and for good reason. Both are athletic, but at the same time they are going to use that athleticism to buy time for themselves while they look for receivers downfield. They can scramble, but it's a last option. And as dynamic as they are on the field, both are reserved and good natured off of it.

Coleman, the 5-foot-11, 208-pound running back from Lompoc, watched Williams throw the ball Friday during the Rising Stars Camp. "I saw him out there dropping dimes, so I know he's got a cannon behind him," Coleman said of Williams. "Utilizing him we can pass too, so it opens up lanes for me."

And for Stringfellow, one of the players expected to benefit the most from Williams' play on the field, knows how big it is that UW picked up the top quarterback in California - according to Scout.com. "It's a big deal," he said. "You always want to go to a school as a receiver and know what kind of person is going to be throwing you the ball. They have Troy…right now they have the quarterback, number 17 (Keith Price), and they are all pretty good. For me, it's a big deal."

Friday's announcement was all about the future, all about what can be at Washington when the culture and the atmosphere surrounding the football program matches the expectations on the field. And no one has greater expectations for the future than Troy Williams.

"Everybody knows it as 'U-Dub' where I'm from," Williams said proudly. "They think it's a great school, and every time someone comes out from my area and goes there, I tell them, 'Great decision, great choice'. They look at Washington very highly. Everybody, from coach (Johnny) Nansen to coach (Tosh) Lupoi, to coach (Eric) Kiesau and coach Sark, they are all great…great attitudes, great everything, great coaches. And it's just fun being around them."

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