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Kasen Williams is thrilled to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, especially with fellow Washington commit Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but the Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline wide receiver said he's even more excited for the national exposure to show fans across the country that some good football is played in the state of Washington.
With an entire week of practice prior to the nationally-televised Army game, Williams will get his chance to show how good players can be in the Pacific Northwest, not always considered a talent-rich football area.
"This is a really big opportunity for me because one of the things I've been saying is that Washington really isn't a state where people look for football," Williams said. "We have a lot of good competition out here and we have a lot of good games but a lot of people don't realize it.
"This is something for me and Austin both coming out of Washington, this is an opportunity for me and him to really shine in this game and really show people that Washington isn't a state to mess with and to really put Washington on the map for football. A lot of people don't really give us the credit that we actually deserve."
Rivals.com rates Williams, a 6-foot-2, 197-pound four-star prospect, No. 14 at wide receiver, No. 128 overall and fifth in the Washington state rankings. Seferian-Jenkins is the nation's second-best tight end and No. 1 in the state.
Williams' father, Aaron, played at Washington so it was no surprise when he committed to the Huskies in late August over offers from Alabama, Boise State, Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC and many other national powers.
Washington is getting an incredibly talented wide receiver and Williams wants to show the country that his home state can play some real football, too.
"As far as the game goes, it's a good opportunity for me," Williams said. "I've been to all these combines with the top players in the nation and we've never been in pads and we haven't been able to hit and it wasn't a national game so that's another thing to see how well I step up to the rest of the nation and to show the rankings I've been getting on these sites are legit.
"Playing in a stadium like the Alamodome, in Washington we get pretty big crowds but nowhere near what we're going to get for this Army game. It's going to be a good thing for me so I can get used to playing in front of big crowds for college and with me going on to Washington and continuing my football career. It will be a lot of fun and something for me to get used to."
Williams will be in San Antonio to prove a point but he won't miss out on the fun, either. Playing in a national all-star showcase is an honor. Doing it beside Seferian-Jenkins, a personal friend and fellow Washington commit, will be exciting. It will be a prelude to their days in college - and Williams hopes he can make a statement by having a good week against many of the other top players in the country.
"Me and Austin were on the Gridiron Kings team together but we've never been on the same team as far as pads go," Williams said.
"I think a lot of people are going to be surprised on Washington talent and me and Austin will do good in this game. With this week of practice we're going to get used to it and carry it into Washington and hopefully we can take Washington places, too."