Deontai Williams didn’t get added to the list of Nebraska’s official visitors for this weekend until Friday.
Less than 48 hours later, he’s committed to the Huskers.
The 6-foot, 175-pound defensive back from Jones County (Mississippi) Junior College announced his pledge via Twitter on Sunday afternoon and could be in line to play either safety or cornerback for Nebraska .
I’m thankful for all the opportunity God place in front of me but as of right now I will love to say Im committed to the University of the Nebraska Cornhuskers ❄️🌽🏈 #Bringbackthewinningtradition #GBR #Sniper @callaghan02 @CoachTFisher @coach_frost pic.twitter.com/6DEsjyEVq7
— Deontai O. Williams (@IWILLSTILLRISE) December 17, 2017
“It was great, really great,” Williams told the Journal Star on Sunday. “I just love the atmosphere that Nebraska brings and I love the tradition. They take the tradition very seriously.
“They were saying they’re trying to bring back the winning tradition to Nebraska and they feel like with the coaching staff they have and the players they’re recruiting right now that they are. We’re going to trust the process and just keep going from there.”
Williams committed to Florida in June but decommitted Dec. 7.
He is rated the No. 2 junior college safety in the country for the class of 2018 and the No. 34 overall juco prospect by 247Sports.
Williams had contact with this coaching staff while they were at Central Florida and his father was selected in the NFL Draft the same year as now-Nebraska defensive backs coach Travis Fisher.
“That’s how they know each other and that’s how they linked up,” Williams said. “I’ve got a good relationship with Coach Fisher.”
That doesn’t make the reunion any less surprising, though. Williams said when he decommitted from Florida, he had no idea what would happen next.
“That’s what’s crazy,” he said. “I never thought I would be going to Nebraska, but God moves in mysterious ways. And I love the coaching staff and I’m going to love playing for the coaching staff.”
Williams attended Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida, before originally signing out of high school to play for former Husker head coach Frank Solich at Ohio in 2015. Instead, Williams wound up at Jones County, where he logged 26 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles this fall.
“You learn how to be a student of the game,” said Williams of his junior-college experience while confirming that he has three years of eligibility remaining. “You’ve seen in high school what I could do (talent-wise), but creating techniques and adding new stuff to my game. You know what I’m saying, learning how to be a captain and learning how to be a leader on defense. Learning new techniques to my game has been a big part of my game while I’ve been in juco.”
He was credited with only one game played and four tackles in 2016 but redshirted because he had to have knee surgery, he said.
The Florida-focused website Alligator Army also sheds more light on Williams’ long road to power conference football. He originally committed to Florida in 2014 before Will Muschamp left that school for South Carolina. He then committed to Georgia before eventually signing with Ohio and ultimately landing at JCJC.
Muschamp again had interest in Williams this summer.
Williams is verbal commit No. 12 for the Huskers and the fifth since head coach Scott Frost was hired Dec. 2.
He said he can play either safety or corner and thinks the coaching staff has plans to try him at both. The way the staff is set up under Frost, Fisher is coaching both positions.
“They said as soon as I step on campus to put my foot down and make a statement and they said if I do that, I’ll play right now” said Williams, who had more than a half-dozen eventual Divsion I players on his high school defense. “You could say it was just like college because every day you had to compete or somebody could come in and take your spot. I’m never scared of no competition.”
William’s highlights on Hudl show big hit after big hit and a player that is not afraid to be physical. That’s no accident, he said.
“I call myself a sniper,” he added. “That’s what I do, “I’m just sniping people on the field – one-shot kill. I’m very vicious and very aggressive. I’m an aggressive player and I feel like I have that dog in me. You can’t teach somebody to be a dog. You just either have that in you or you don’t.”
|Name||Pos.||Ht.||Wt.||Hometown (School)||Stars (247 Sports composite)|
|David Alston||DE/OLB||6’5″||225||Woodbury, Minn.||***|
|Cameron Brown||WR||6’1″||175||St. Louis (Christian Brothers)||****|
|Will Farniok||OL||6’3″||260||Sioux Falls, S.D. (Washington)||***|
|Barret Pickering||K||6’0″||185||Hoover, Ala.||***|
|C.J. Smith||S||6’3″||193||West Palm Beach, Fla. (Oxbridge Academy)||****|
|Tate Wildeman||DE||6’6″||245||Parker, Colo. (Legend)||***|
|Jaron Woodyard||ATH||5’11”||175||Yuma, Ariz. (Arizona Western CC)||***|
|Deontai Williams||S||6’0||170||Ellisville, Mississippi (Jones County JC)||***|
A successful weekend: The Huskers had seven prospects total on campus this weekend, including Williams and 2018 verbal commitment Tate Wildeman.
The other five — Butler (Kansas) Community College linebacker Will Honas, three-star tight ends Katerian Legrone (Atlanta) and Messiah Swinson (Brookville, New York), four-star athlete Marcus Riley (Tallahassee, Florida) and four-star safety Cam Jones (Mansfield, Texas) — are all still on the market.
The Huskers appear to be squarely in contention on each, especially Legrone, who decommitted from Central Florida on Sunday morning before leaving Lincoln.
Interestingly, Riley told HuskerOnline that NU is recruiting him as a quarterback and that he spent most of his time with quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco. Riley played quarterback at Rickards High, throwing for 2,056 yards (53.6 percent completions), 10 touchdowns and five interceptions in 10 games while also rushing for 1,057 yards and 10 more touchdowns.
Riley is currently committed to Louisville, which would likely use him as a wide receiver.
Prospects going elsewhere: Running back Jerome Ford (Seffner, Florida), offered Dec. 3, committed to Alabama on Sunday. Marquese Stepp (Indianapolis), another running back that the Huskers offered Dec. 12, committed to USC. Both came after official visits this weekend. Daytona Beach, Florida, four-star defensive back John Huggins, who called Nebraska his favorite shortly after decommitting from Florida State earlier this month, verbally committed to Florida on Sunday as well.