Texas wide receiver T.V. Williams is one of 18 UK football commitments expected on campus this weekend. He can’t wait to be in Lexington for good.
Williams committed to UK back in July and signed his financial aid papers with the university last month, signalling his intent to enroll in January. The decision to begin his college career early came after discussions with UK coaches Mark Stoops, Neal Brown and Tommy Mainord, as well as a final talk with his father.
“Early in my recruitment with Kentucky, Coach Mainord and Coach Brown and Coach Stoops always preached that they need guys that can come in and be able to play as soon as possible,” Williams told the Herald-Leader. “They wanted guys to play early, and they said I have a chance of playing early.”
The decision wasn’t all about athletics.
Williams said he plans to major in computer engineering and then pursue a master’s degree in business. Enrolling early will give him the opportunity to graduate early and start on his master’s while still on an athletic scholarship.
Of course, he’ll also benefit by going through an extra spring practice with the Cats.
Stoops and Mainord traveled to Texas last week to visit with Williams and his family. The 5-foot-9 wide receiver says he stays in regular contact with all of his fellow commitments, but specifically mentioned quarterback Drew Barker and receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass as two players he talks to all the time.
Snodgrass — another player who will enroll in January — was the only wide receiver committed to the Cats when Williams jumped on board in July.
“When I committed it was just Thad,” said Williams, whose "T.V." nickname is derived from his real first name, Treyvon. “And I thought, ‘OK, there’s only two of us. We need more.’ We run the Air Raid, and we needed to get as many guys to come as possible. Yeah, you have your starters, but it’s a rotation. The way Coach Brown runs the offense, he rotates receivers in and out to keep them fresh.”
UK now has five wide receivers committed for the Class of 2014, and Williams likes the group he’s coming in with.
He was familiar with Snodgrass from their time together at The Opening, a summer all-star camp hosted by Nike. Williams attended a camp with 6-5 wide-out Blake Bone and said it was “ridiculous” watching his success against triple coverage. He’s also pleased with the addition of Florida’s Garrett Johnson, another speedy slot receiver like himself.
Ohio’s Dorian Baker is the most recent addition to UK’s receiving corps for 2014. Williams first saw him at a UK camp over the summer.
“We were saying, ‘Coach, we’ve got to get him,’” he recalled. “He’s a monster. He’s big, he’s strong. We need that in a receiver on the outside.”
And then there’s Barker, the four-star quarterback who will be throwing passes to those five guys over the next few years.
“I wanted to wait and see what Drew did before I made any decisions,” Williams said. “To play in the SEC, you have to have a good quarterback. If you look at the top programs in the SEC, they always have really good quarterbacks. When Drew chose Kentucky, it really kind of opened my eyes and I was like, ‘All right, let me get a closer look at Kentucky.’ Then when we went out to The Opening — to see him make those throws and to see him show out, it was a good feeling to know that I would be playing with him. I just can’t wait.”
Coaches and recruiting analysts predict that Williams will be a good fit for Brown’s offense, but Rivals.com considers him one of UK’s lowest-ranked commitments. He’s aware of the expectations that UK fans have for this class, which is ranked among the best in the country. He also feels like he has something to prove.
“I think we’re more than ready,” he said. “We don’t want to let anybody down. We’re ready to go ahead and attack it and give it our all. A lot of people don’t like the pressure. But I think everybody in this class, we react well toward pressure.
“And I think a lot of us have a lot of things to prove, regarding our recruiting rankings and stuff like that. A lot of us think we should be ranked higher, and we’re not. So we want to go out and prove that in college. Prove everybody wrong and just take Kentucky back to where it needs to be.”
Read more at Next Cats.