The Big Ten is known for solid, fundamental power football. Jarrell Williams will help transform that image.
The speedster from Harold L. Richards High School became the first member of the class of 2011 to make a verbal commitment last Wednesday when he ended his recruitment and committed to Northwestern. The Oak Lawn native will help transform the ‘Cats secondary that brought in three players in the 2010 class.
Anthony Sheehan, the head coach of the Richards football team, said Williams has all the necessary tools to succeed at the next level.
“He’s one of a kind because he’s the whole package and can do it all,” Sheehan said. “We put him at quarterback and he is just explosive with the ball in his hands.”
Although Williams is a diminutive 5 foot 10 inches and 170 pounds, he has been working hard in the weight room to get stronger.
“He’s got to get a little stronger but he’s been working his butt off in the weight room this off-season and he’s gotten stronger and bigger,” Sheehan said.
Sheehan said Williams’ size has not hindered him from having an aggressive style of play. Cornerbacks are known for being the least intimidating guys on the field, but Williams packs a punch.
“He’s not one of your typical coverage corners who just likes to stay out there,” Sheehan said. “He’s going to come in and he’s going to hit you.”
Williams’ speed, though, is undeniably his greatest asset. The junior said he sports a 4.4 second 40-yard dash time, making him one of the fastest players on the field at all times. That speed has helped him earn scholarship offers from Northwestern and Indiana, along with significant interest from Michigan, Iowa, Cincinnati and Duke. The ‘Cats presented the perfect package.
“Northwestern academics were the best out of my school selections,” Williams said. “Coach Fitz is just one of the best coaches I’ve ever met and the players and the people around Northwestern were all great.”
Williams was so interested in the ‘Cats that he attended every Northwestern home game last fall to feel the team out.
“I was really interested in the school and I wanted to see how they matched up against the Big Ten,” Williams said.
Like most Northwestern recruits, Williams’ talents only start on the football field. Sheehan said he has seen many Division I caliber athletes come through, but he says Williams is special.
“He’s got the grades, he’s a great kid off the field as well. He’s the girls basketball manager,” Sheehan said. “He helps out with the district Special Olympics basketball team. He’s helping with their practice and everything, he’s a really great kid. We’ve had a lot of those but he’s a special kid — he’ll do anything you ask.”