Size, speed make U’High’s Williams big-time prospect
They say good things come to those who wait.
University High School defensive end Tim Williams is a prime example. Williams is also one of the Baton Rouge area’s prime football recruits going into next season.
After transferring twice during his sophomore season and sitting out the entire year to gain eligibility, Williams did his share of waiting. These days, he’s focused on hitting — both the books and U-High opponents.
“I had to change my whole perspective about school and what I wanted to do,” Williams said. “There was a lot more expected academically here (at U-High). I had to be responsible for doing assignments and turning in homework.
“I wasn’t as focused on classes before. The coaches made me understand I couldn’t get the other things I wanted without taking care of my academics.”
What Williams wants to do is to play college football at the highest level. He stands 6-foot-3¾ and weighs in at 230 pounds, which is impressive enough.
Williams’ wow factor is his speed. He was clocked in 4.58 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the recent LSU camp, UHS defensive coordinator Andy Martin said.
LSU, Alabama, Southern California, Florida, Florida State and Miami are his college finalists, something that speaks volumes. Praise from rival high school coaches rings out just as loud.
“The big things I see are his speed and his versatility,” Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois said. “He could probably play just about any position on the field.
“You’re used to seeing him put pressure on the quarterback and make plays on defense. But on special teams, he’s out there running guys down. He’s an incredible athlete.”
The Dunham School’s Guy Mistretta said: “I don’t know if there’s really anybody out there I can compare him too. He’s so athletic, and you have to game plan for him. If you leave a tackle out there on him all alone, you’re usually in trouble.”
Williams started building a football résumé as a freshman at Glen Oaks. He teamed with his older brother, Nicholas, to help the Panthers advance to the Class 4A playoffs. Williams compiled about 20 sacks that season.
The following year Williams started out at Capitol High, spending two weeks there
before moving to University High.
The heightened academic environment UHS offered
was worth sitting out a season for, said Williams’ mother, Carolyn.
“The coaches, the teachers, the principal, the dean of students and guidance counselors are all behind the kids here,” Carolyn Williams said. “They stay on them, and they need that.
“There are services and resources out there for them, then it’s up to the students to show initiative. I like that. As a parent, that’s what I want.”
Though the adjustments at UHS weren’t easy, Williams said he doesn’t consider his sophomore season to be time wasted.
“I was able to learn by watching,” Williams said. “I saw how important technique was and how you can use it to gain an advantage. And I saw why some things (defensive strategies) worked and others didn’t.”
In turn, Williams proved to be a quick study on the field.
“He’s so fast off the line of scrimmage,” Martin said. “And he uses his hands probably better than any high school lineman I’ve seen.
“When I was at Catholic High, we had Jason Peters (Georgia Tech) and Matthew Broha (Louisiana Tech), who were both outstanding in high school and college.
“Tim is a different animal because of his athleticism and size.”
Williams finished with 111 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and two forced fumbles last fall as a junior, helping the Cubs advance to the Class 2A quarterfinals.
His grades have shown gradual improvement. Williams, who plans a criminal justice college major, is currently taking summer school classes at Christian Life Academy.
“Academically, I think he’s in an OK spot right now,” UHS head coach Chad Mahaffey said. “It’s not a slam dunk that he’ll be a qualifier, but it won’t take a miracle, either.
“There’s still some work that needs to be done in core classes, and he just took the ACT for the second time. And the good thing is he has the summer and all of next year to improve. He knows there’s work to be done.”
Mahaffey said Williams’ game doesn’t have a glaring weakness.
There is one area he wants to see improvement.
“It’s hard for any defensive lineman to keep that intensity up to a high level for every play,” Mahaffey said. “If he can give that maximum effort on every play, it would be something.”
After two years, Williams said, he’s used to Mahaffey “staying in his ear” about academics and football. In fact, he likes it.
“Sometimes, I need somebody to push me over that line ... to make me work harder,” Williams said.