July 10, 2008

Two-sport star declares top two

Alex Williams is in no hurry to make a decision on his college future.

It's not that the three-star defensive end from Tallahassee (FAMU High), Fla., isn't giving his future any thought. Quite the contrary, in fact. Instead, the 6-foot-4, 199-pound football neophyte is being deliberate for some very specific reasons.

"I'm just letting everything stay as is," Williams said Wednesday night. "I'm not going to make any decisions right now. I want to see what all my offers are going to be and weigh my options. If I go on a football scholarship, I want to go some place where I can play both. Basketball is my first love. If you are going to let me play both, you're OK with me."

Williams has a couple of clear favorites right now, thanks in large part to the coaching staffs at those schools being willing to accommodate his desire to play hoops at the next level as well.

"Ole Miss is talking about me doing that, as well as a couple of other places," Williams said.

Ole Miss and South Florida lead for Williams, the younger brother of former Arkansas star Boo Williams.

"Memphis is up there, too, but the other top ones are small basketball schools," Williams said. "I want to go to a big-time university that's good in football and basketball. Ole Miss and USF are my top two. Arkansas is No. 3."

Florida International and East Carolina, Williams said, round out what is a very early top six. The decision, clearly, will come down to basketball, despite the opinion of coaches and evaluators that his future is brighter on the gridiron.

"I haven't had any contact with any basketball coach from those three, but the football coaches have talked to them for me," Williams said. "(Ole Miss cornerbacks coach/recruiting coordinator) Coach (Chris) Vaughn said he was going to talk to their basketball coach and see where things lie. They told me they were going to talk to their basketball coach and they would check out my AAU travels."

Williams, who was hampered during the spring by a finger injury, is back on the basketball court these days, playing for an Orlando-based AAU team. He'll be playing in Miami this weekend and then in Orlando later this month. The basketball travels have prevented him from attending many football camps and might have curtailed some of the interest he would have from football recruiters if he declared his intention to focus on chasing quarterbacks rather than driving to the basket.

"I haven't made that decision," Williams said when asked if he had decided which sport gave him a better chance of one day earning a living by playing a game. "I'm hoping it's basketball, but a lot of people don't know that brother's first love was basketball. He played several years in the NFL. I'm not closing any options. If it's for me, it'll work out. If it doesn't, I'll make that decision when it comes. I'm going to prolong it as long as possible."

That means prolonging things until he's had a chance at the next level, despite the knowledge that a two-sport commitment can be incredibly taxing at a school competing in the Southeastern Conference or in the Big East.

"The reason I think I can handle it is because a lot of people say they want it, but they don't really want it," Williams said. "I'm really driven. Here, I can't afford a tutor or special help, so I'm on my own. I stay later at school. In college, they have tutors for you so you can get your work because that's what you're there to do. You have to do the work at the end of the day, but they're there to help. I think it will be very doable."

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