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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Wednesday, July 18, 2012

By Sammy Batten

ECU's offensive line of the future taking shape

Laney's Williams joins front line recruits Ashley, Matau, Smith


By Sammy Batten
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For years when he was younger, Larry Williams wasn't allowed to play organized football because of his size. Now, because of that and the agility he's developed through hard work and dedication, the Wilmington, NC, product is getting the opportunity to play at the college level as an adult.

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound offensive lineman from E.A. Laney High School accepted an offer to join the East Carolina University program next fall earlier this month as the Pirates continued stockpiling blocking talent in their recruiting Class of 2013. Williams is the fourth in-state offensive lineman to make a verbal commitment to ECU, joining Havelock's Malcolm Ashley, Christian Matau of New Bern and Brandon Smith from Kernersville.

Williams has been a two-way starter since his sophomore season at Laney, but head coach Greg Ditz was aware of him long before he reached the varsity.

“He used to come over here when he was just in the seventh and eighth grade in the summer,'' Ditz said. “He played JV as a freshman, then we started him on the varsity as a sophomore.

“Larry has kind of always had the size, but as a sophomore he was a little timid. But you could start to see by the end of his sophomore season he was starting to understand what it took to be a man on the football field. His junior year, he just took over and blossomed like a switch went off in his head. He realized he could dominate anybody.

“He's just a great kid, a hard worker and a real coach's dream.''

Williams attributes his early struggles to inexperience. After all, he wasn't allowed to play football until he reached the seventh grade because of local weight limits in the recreation leagues.

“I was always too big to play Pop Warner football,'' Williams said. “I was like 170 pounds in the fourth grade. I was over the limit by 40 pounds, so there was no way I could ever play.

“It hurt. I wanted to play so bad, but I had to wait. When I finally did get to play in the seventh grade, I fell in love with it.''

Williams quickly learned that he needed to be in better shape and move faster to be successful on the football field. Ditz said Williams dedicated himself to the weight room and the track long before he played in a varsity game.

The result has been a more agile athlete, who has been timed at 4.9 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

“That's moving pretty well,'' Ditz said. “Because of his speed, we've played him at guard rather than tackle. We run a lot of counter plays. Every time he was pulling and kicking out the defensive end on those counters last year there was always a big collision.''

Despite his impressive size and athleticism, Williams wasn't able to land a scholarship offer from the school he actually favored at the start of the recruiting process.

N.C. State had begun recruiting Williams during his sophomore season. But after he didn't receive a scholarship while attending the Wolfpack's summer camp June 23, Williams decided to take his talents to Greenville.

The Pirates had offered a scholarship to Williams after watching him perform at their summer camp on June 10.

“(Offensive coordinator) Lincoln Riley told me my performance at camp was one of the best he'd ever seen,'' Williams said. “I was wanting to go to N.C. State because they had been recruiting me since I was a sophomore. I went up there (to camp) and did a little as an offensive lineman, but the majority of my work was with the defensive lineman.

“They (State coaches) said I was good and I was definitely a Division I athlete, but that they didn't need offensive guards. They are looking for offensive tackles. I guess they were looking for someone taller. They like their tackles to be 6-6 or 6-7.''

N.C. State's loss is ECU's gain.

Although he has performed well on the defensive front in high school, the Pirates plan to use Williams primarily at offensive guard.

“That's the plan, I think, but I wouldn't mind playing some defensive tackle or defensive end,'' Williams said. “But Coach Riley said they wanted me as an inside guy (on offensive line) along with the other guard from New Bern (Matau). But Coach Riley also said they like their linemen to be versatile enough to play any spot on the line.''

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07/17/2012 03:16:22 PM


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