|by Nikki Hood|
The 4-star Orlando (FL) First tight end announced his decision to attend Clemson Monday afternoon, choosing the Tigers over Florida State, Auburn and Stanford.
The 111th ranked prospect in ESPN’s 300 became the 15th member of the Tigers 2015 class – the fourth in the last six days – and the first tight end.
“It’s been a heck of a day,” Williams told TigerNet shortly after he talked to the Clemson coaches. “This has been an answer to a prayer, a dream come true and it has been awesome. Being able to go to a school and a program like Clemson is truly an honor and a blessing and I can’t wait to get up there.”
Williams’ father Dayne played at Florida St. as a fullback in the last 80s, and the Seminoles had hoped to keep Williams in the state of Florida. Stanford’s academics also helped the Cardinal make a late push, but Williams said he knew Clemson was where he wanted to be.
“The last two weeks, my family and I have been talking about it a lot,” he said. “We have been praying about it a lot all the way through the process and within the last week or so I knew the place where the Lord wants me, where I feel the most comfortable and where I fit. I am extremely excited and I know it’s the right place for me.”
He said that his father played a pivotal role in helping him choose Clemson despite the FSU connection.
“Throughout the whole process, he was as open as I was about schools,” Williams said. “He stood with me through it all and helped me sort through things and helped me make sure my emotions were kept out of it. He has been an incredible source of strength. He is incredibly proud and happy for me to choose Clemson.”
Clemson’s sense of family helped the Tigers stand out.
“I love that Clemson is family. I love how the coaches treat the players,” he said. “They actually care about them. I love the university. It is an incredible school, and everything about Clemson is elite. The academics and campus life are incredible and I just love what the football program stands for. And I love how they play the game.”
Shortly after he made his decision public, he spoke with the Clemson coaching staff.
“They were incredibly happy,” he said. “I’ve talked to Coach Swinney, Coach Scott and Coach Brad Scott. All of them have been thrilled and incredibly happy to have me as a part of the family.”
The latest ESPN recruiting rankings showed the Tigers ranked No. 5 nationally, a position that will likely get a boost with the addition of Williams.
“The class is turning out to be an incredible class,” Williams said. “We have some of the top linemen like Mitch Hyatt and all of the other guys. I’m incredibly blessed to be playing alongside those guys in a couple of years. The class has turned out to be really good. I’m really excited to see where it goes from here.”
Shortly after he made his decision, his girlfriend (Kennedy Williams-Talmadge) called Clemson volleyball coach Jolene Hoover to announce her intentions of playing at Clemson.
“That was very cool, too. You can’t base your decision off of a girlfriend or boyfriend or anything like that, but it’s incredible she will be there with me and we will be there for each other getting adjusted to our new journey in life,” he said. “That’s something that is a true blessing for me and I am happy that she has the opportunity to go to the same school as me.”
As a junior, Garrett – who also plays defensive end – tallied 76 tackles and a team-high 10 sacks.
As a sophomore, he tallied 70 tackles and 13 sacks. He rushed for four touchdowns, while catching three more as a wing-back.
Nikki Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org