Greenbelt (Md.) Eleanor Roosevelt athlete Derrick Williams has a little less than 48 hours in which to make his decision about what college program he'll play for. While hinting that he had narrowed things down to three schools at the end of last week, it appears now that Williams is not quite that close to a decision.
"I'm not getting back home until late Tuesday afternoon and I have a lot of things to go over with my family," said the 6-foot-0, 189-pounder, who is currently in New York for the High School Heisman media blitz. "I probably should have stayed home and worked on my decision more, but this has been pretty cool as well. I've met some nice people and got to hang out in New York."
Williams is one of five finalists for the High School Player of the Year Award, which will be given at the U.S. Army All-American Game on Jan. 15. He has spent time with Ryan Perrilloux, Mark Sanchez and Jake Christensen. The fifth finalist, Greg Paulus, didn't make the trip.
"We've been hanging out and have been pretty busy," he said. "We did The Today Show Saturday, Cold Pizza (ESPN2) today and we're touring the Downtown Athletic Club as well. On our down time, we've been playing video games and getting to know each other a bit."
While Sanchez and Christensen are committed to schools that Williams isn't considering (Southern Cal and Iowa respectively), Perrilloux is a verbal commitment to Texas, one of Williams' final five.
"We've talked a bit," Williams said. "He's a cool kid and, if he ends up at Texas and I pick them as well, he'd be my quarterback so it's good to bond a bit."
Does that give Texas any advantage?
"I don't know," he laughed. "Ryan isn't even sure of what he's doing and neither am I. We did agree that choosing a school is hard."
Late last week Williams hinted that Florida was in his final three. Is that still the case?
"I don't have a final three," he said. "I was hoping I would. I've had a lot of time to think about each program but I haven't had a chance to sit down with my family and narrow it down."
In addition to Texas and Florida, Williams has visited Tennessee, Penn State and Oklahoma. All five schools are still very much in the running according to Williams.
"Each has a few things that are a must to me and then there are the little things," he said. "It will probably come down to the little things."
So what does Williams want for sure?
"I want to play as a true freshman and make an impact," he said. "My goal has always been to be one of the best college football players in the nation. I've always been driven by goals. I also want to win football games. No one cares if you're the best player on a bad team. But more importantly than anything, I want to feel like I fit in and I'm comfortable and have a good relationship with the coaches and players.
"It's funny, because sometimes I think all five of the schools have everything I want and at other times I think that they're all missing one aspect or another. That's what makes it so tough. This is a huge decision and I don't want to over-think it but I also want to get it right."
Every team that Williams is considering except for Penn State had what could be deemed a banner season this past year.
"Oklahoma is No. 1, Texas lost only to Oklahoma and they're in a BCS game," he said. "Florida finished strong and won eight games and Tennessee surprised everyone and went to the SEC title game. Penn State struggled offensively this year, but a lot of their games were close."
His dealings with coaches at times hasn't helped.
"They're all so nice, but man are they serious," he laughed. "I'm a laid-back person who likes to joke here and there and I was waiting for one of them to crack me up. I guess that's what makes them so good. I tried to lighten them up a bit when I visited or they came to the house, but it didn't work much."
The most memorable thing for Williams regarding his five official visits?
"It was a butt kicking tour of Madden 2005," he said. "I was undefeated, something like 16-0. I beat Mark Clayton at Oklahoma three times and I killed my boy Derrick Harvey down at Florida. It got ugly.
"Even here in New York, we've been playing NCAA 2005, which I'm not a huge fan of because it's too easy to pass. But I haven't played it much and I've still been killing these guys."
So when does he think he'll have a decision?
"I hope to have one when I wake up on Wednesday morning, but who knows?" he said. "It could come down to right before I go on the air."
Williams' decision will be aired on ESPNews at 3:30PM EST on Wednesday (Dec. 22) from his high school. Does he have anything special planned?
"Not sure yet," he said. "I don't think I'll do a lot of props or anything like that, I don't have time for that stuff. I know I've got to shave and look good and probably put a hat on."