Grayson High School coach
Mickey Conn has been watching Terry Williams play football since the
eighth grade, and he knew right from the start he had a college prospect
on his hands.
“He started coming over
and working out with us in about the seventh grade during our off-season
program,'' Conn said. “We knew he was going to be a college recruit. We
just didn't know what level or what position we were going to play him
at. We just knew he was a great football player.''
Williams has lived up to
Conn's first impression as a three-year starter at the Loganville, GA,
high school that is one of the state's top Class 5-A programs. He
received scholarship offers from Eastern Michigan, Georgia Southern,
Kent State, Samford and South Alabama, but decided earlier this month to
instead make a verbal commitment to the East Carolina Pirates.
The 6-foot, 250-pounder,
who has 4.8-second speed in the 40-yard dash, is the fourth linebacker
to make a pledge to the Pirates for their recruiting Class of 2010. All
three of ECU's current linebacker starters are scheduled to graduate
after the 2009 season and two of the second-teamers are juniors, so
bolstering that area is one of the priorities in this class.
Williams is a mainstay on
defense for a Grayson squad that has won back-to-back Region 8-AAAAA
championships. He racked up 106 tackles and one sack as a sophomore,
then added 97 tackles, six sacks and an interception last season in
helping the Rams reach the state semifinals.
This year's defensive
unit, which also includes Georgia Tech commit Shawn Green on the
defensive line and Brigham Young pledge Kori Gaines at defensive back,
is giving up an average of eight points a game and has produced five
Conn said Williams is the
leader of that group.
“You watch the kid and you
see his passion and ability to lead people who are around him,'' Conn
said. “He's got something you can't measure, that you have to see it. He
raises the level of play of people around him because he's so passionate
and works so hard at the game. And he's not afraid to hold others
accountable for playing at their top level.''
Williams excels because of
athletic ability and his knowledge of the game, according to Conn.
“A lot of times these days
the actual ability to play the game of football gets let out of today's
recruiting,'' he said. “Too many people measure a prospect on height,
weight and 40 times. Well, this kid is a football player. He understands
situations, how to play angles and he understands how to tackle, which
is a lot art in today's football.
“He understands down and
distance. If somebody runs a halfback pass against us, he's back there
with the safety because he's watched film and understood what they were
doing before they did it. He's a student of the game.''
East Carolina began
courting Williams last spring, but wasn't initially sure what position
he could play in college. So the Pirates didn't extend an offer until
September after he made an unofficial visit to Greenville to watch the
Central Florida game.
“He could play linebacker,
fullback or even defensive line,'' Conn said. “I'm not sure where
they'll put him. They signed him as a football player.
“I think one of the
reasons he liked East Carolina is because they're so passionate about
football just like him. They fill their stadium every Saturday and they
care about football.''
The Pirates now have
13 known commitments, including
seven defensive prospects.