MCKINNEY, Texas -- T.V. Williams sat just feet away from the spectacle and never wished to be at its center.
The three-star prospect watched handfuls of highly regarded recruits get their 15 minutes as they announced college decisions at The Opening on national television. He had decided to commit to Kentucky long before the event, but looked on quietly and guarded his secret.
The waiting was in the name of loyalty. See, Williams, a wide receiver at Texas' McKinney High School, was content trading lights and cameras for family and friends. He exchanged the national exposure for this moment - an evening spent inside his high school with 250 of those closest to him gathered around a table.
Article Continues Below
It's a decision Williams will never regret. As he reached for a blue Kentucky cap, and the room stuffed with his supporters erupted in applause, the payoff was obvious. This is exactly what he'd imagined.
"We talk a lot about [McKinney] Lion Nation here at my school," Williams said after announcing his choice of Kentucky on Tuesday. "It's family and friends here. That stays with me. This is what means the most to me. This is why I wanted to do it here. Everybody here has touched me in a way I just can't explain."
Williams, who requested a moment of silence for a recently deceases classmate before his announcement, has always been a family-first guy. It's the way he was raised. But football doesn't come long after. It never has.
That's apparent when watching him play.
"In my 18 years, he's the most explosive player I have ever coached," said McKinney head coach Jeff Smith. "He's got crazy speed. He's an excellent route runner and is such a smart football player. He plays multiple positions for us. Football is a great passion for him. It's something he has dedicated a lot of time to. His speed and quickness is going to translate to the next level."
Williams had informed the Kentucky staff of his choice days before his announcement, but most in the building were uncertain until he threw on a blue hat and a custom-made Kentucky shirt emblazed with the slogan "#Yahtzee".
The rest of the event itself was standard -- exactly the way Williams drew it up. There were some prayers and some cheers before Williams outlined the driving forces behind his decision.
"They have a saying in Lexington that goes 'come be a hero,'" Williams said. "It just means come help turn Kentucky around, and I really want to be a part of something special like that. I want to build a program and be part of a class that comes in and steps up. I decided that right before I went to the Opening. I wanted to go to camp clear minded. It was a great decision."
The sentimental stuff is fine and well. Building a program, being part of a foundation, yadda, yadda. But the Xs and Os sold Williams on the Wildcats just as much as the atmosphere or the mindset.
In the end, his was a football decision. And it's one that he's a peace with.
"At Kentucky, I'm going to be playing the slot," Williams said. "I'm going to be getting a lot of jet sweeps and getting the ball in my hand in space. Also, they want to line me up out wide to stretch the field with my speed. It's an air-raid offense. You won't find a wide receiver anywhere that wouldn't want to play in an air-raid offense. No wide receiver wants to run the ball. It's really a dream situation for me."