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PRICHARD, Ala. - On Monday afternoon at a ceremony at his school, Prichard (Ala.) Blount safety Jarrick Williams officially accepted an invitation to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl with a similar level of pomp and circumstance that surrounded his commitment to the University of Alabama back in the summer.
When Williams committed to Nick Saban back in June, he not only decided to simply call the Tide's third-year coach on the phone over a more elaborate announcement ceremony, the 6-foot-2, 215 pounder made his pledge on a Friday night - far away from the spotlight of the media or fans.
Monday's U.S. Army announcement featured a few simple "thank you" messages to coaches, teammates and his community from the Rivals100 star but very little else to draw attention to himself.
"That is just the kind of kid Jarrick is. He doesn't say much, and when he does say something, he has a real purpose behind it," said Blount Head Coach Kelvin Sigler, himself a former Tide safety in the 90's. "He plays the same way. Jarrick has a knack for making something happen when he is around the football. There isn't a lot of wasted effort."
The highlight video reels of Williams backs that up as the physical defender often appears from out of view of the screen to close a lot of distance between point "A" and "B" in a flash and meet ball-carriers with bad intentions.
Williams has made noise at the varsity level since the ninth grade as a ball-hawk known for jarring hits and defensive takeaways. According to Sigler, Williams has a chance to leave Blount as the most heavily decorated football prospect in school history.
"We have had a lot of great athletes at Blount. DeMarco McNeil, Sherman Williams, Dameyune Craig are just a few of the big-time athletes at the school, and Jarrick is possible the best athlete we have ever had," said Sigler. "First, he is a physical specimen. He doesn't have an ounce of fat on him. He is one of those kids whose muscles have muscles. Second, he has explosive strength. His hips and legs are incredibly strong. When he hits you, you go backwards.
"Jarrick is also a very underrated cover guy. He has improved his speed to where we were timing him in the 4.4's and 4.5's this summer," said Sigler. "He has a pick-six this season and several fumble recoveries. Just being around the football all of the time gives him an opportunity to create turnovers, and that is something he does routinely."
Sigler pointed out Williams' interception return for a touchdown against rival Murphy High School as an example of his deceptive speed.
"Jarrick had a lot of big hits in that game, and we had the lead most of the game but they had driven to our 10-yard line. Jarrick stepped in front of one of the throws in the middle of the field and caught it," said Sigler. "Murphy is loaded with fast offensive players (including Florida commit Solomon Patton) and none of them could catch him. He weaved through a few guys and just went about 92 yards for a touchdown. "
Williams is the first prospect from the state of Alabama to formally announce their acceptance into the game which is to be held in San Antonio on January 9, 2010.
"It is an honor to be representing Blount High School and representing my teammates. I can't do anything without those guys," said Williams. "I have a lot of support in and around Prichard so my goal is to represent my community well and use the opportunity to go up against a lot of great talent and show everyone how we play football here.
"I have watched this game every year that I can remember, and just having the chance to be one of those guys now is real special. There is a lot of prestige with this game, and when you are picked to be a part of it, that truly means you are one of the best in the country."
With his commitment to Alabama in the summer, Williams took the drama out of the recruiting process very early and remains as solid as he can be with his decision.
"I can't wait to play at Alabama and just keep rolling with those guys. They are a powerhouse and to be a part of that is a great feeling" said Williams. "I knew where I wanted to go for a long time, and the time just felt right when I decided to tell Coach Saban.
Williams is the nation's No. 71-ranked prospect overall and the No. 5-ranked safety prospect in the country.