After finishing in second place by two tenths of a second in track regionals two weekends ago, Marquis Williams and his Cardinal Gibbons High track teammates knew they had work to do to prepare for last weekend’s Florida state outdoor track championship.
“We went back to practice, worked extra hard and kept striving,” Williams told BadgerNation. “We have great team players. We went to state, got second in the prelims and that woke us up a little more. We had to come back with a little chip on our shoulder.”
Armed with faith, motivation and three smooth handoffs, Williams helped Cardinal Gibbons win the 2A state championship in the 4x100 finals with a time of 41.33 in windy conditions.
“It’s been nothing but work,” Williams said. “We have great coaches, we come take ice baths after every practice, make sure we’re putting in the work, doing 400 meters and 800 meters.”
Even with his sole focus being on track, Williams has seen his football recruitment stay busy with college coaches reaching out to him on social media, visiting his school and new staffs entering the mix with scholarship offers.
Now able to turn his attention back to his football recruitment, Williams said Mississippi, Wisconsin, Penn State, Memphis, Minnesota, Florida Atlantic, UCF, South Florida, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest are some of the schools recruiting him the hardest.
The Badgers have been active with Williams since offering him last May, and Williams spoke glowingly about the campus when he visited Madison in late November. Since that trip, defensive coordinator/secondary coach Jim Leonhard has made the 5-9 prospect one of his top targets.
“My relationship with Coach Leonhard has got deeper,” Williams admitted. “Since he moved to the defensive coordinator position, he’s come to me even more and helping me, like a man, with more than just football. Our bond has got even closer.
“He hasn’t really told me (I’m his top target), but deep down inside I am. He just wants me to stay focused and just finish school strong.”
Still trying to figure out what schools he wants to visit in the summer, Williams says he’s starting to get some interest from Alabama, Nebraska, Oklahoma, TCU and a handful of others. He plans to take all five official visits before deciding.
“I am going to go Michigan State, Ole Miss, Wisconsin, Minnesota and probably Pittsburgh (for a game),” Williams said. “That could change at any moment, but that’s what I got on my head right now.”