Watching Derrick Williams, it is easy to see that he is going to be a star, and how he gets there will be purely academic. Like the Greenbelt (Maryland) Eleanor Roosevelt coach that throws his arms up to signal “touchdown” every time Williams reaches the 50, whichever team gets Williams can start celebrating the instant he signs on the dotted line.
The dramatic part is trying to figure out which school Williams will choose. With offers flooding the Williams household, the task gets harder by the day. Even Williams seems a little exasperated while trying to sort through the mess of hyperbole that he has created.
“I got Texas (Thursday), Florida State yesterday,” Williams said. “It is good to get the offers, but none of them are really better than the others at this point. I am excited about each and every one of them, but it’s hard to stay excited all the time.”
The 6-foot-1 185-pound athlete hasn’t even started to trim his list of over 20 offers.
“Open” is the key word to describe Williams.
“I am just trying to stay wide open and take it as it comes,” Williams said.
“I am really open. I am just so blessed with so many offers and options. I haven’t even thought about narrowing it down yet.”
Luckily for Williams, the people around him have experience in the recruiting arena. Derrick’s brother, Dominique was among the elite recruits in the nation coming out of high school. After graduating from North Carolina, the older brother now lives and works in Maryland, close to his younger brother.
“We went through all this with my brother,” he said. “He was the No. 3 cornerback in the country, so we knew what it was going like. We know how to keep it all organized and everything so that we can keep the schools straight.”
As one might expect, the help goes beyond what the parents have to say. Derrick’s brother has been in the pressure cooker before, and has only offered encouragement to his little brother.
“My brother does help me out with recruiting,” he said. “He tells me to just keep working hard, and he helps me keep my head clear. It is good having him around, because we are really tight.”
Williams is quickly approaching the summer camp season. However, he may or may not be able to attend camps, depending on a summer school schedule. He does have one camp in mind, and has one goal that might cause some jaws to drop.
“For camps, I am planning on going to the Nike camp,” he said. “I want to run that 4.1. I just want to get below 4.2, because I think it would be a record. I know I can do it. I just have to go out there and run it.
“I don’t know about any other camps. To graduate this fall (a semester early) I have to take English this summer, so it might be tough to make it to camps.”
If there is one thing that Williams has plenty of, it is speed. However, the words “speed to burn” never had as much meaning as when Williams applied them to his high school’s 4x100 relay team that won their heat at nationals recently.
“We just had nationals for indoor track,” he said. “We ran the second fastest time in the 4x100 and won our heat even though we dropped the baton. I handed it to the guy and he dropped it. He picked it up and ran, and was in first place the whole way because we had put him so far in front.”
When Williams got the baton for the third leg, somewhere a high school coach instinctively raised his arms.