By Zach Shugan
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Terian Williams II can’t put a finger on the exact number, but if he has to guess, he estimates he’s taken between 15 to 20 college visits since his freshman year. With over 40 offers from Division I college football teams, he wants to make sure he explores his options.
Now, with the 2021 football season set to open in a couple of weeks, a recruitment years in the making nears its close. The Johns Creek senior dubbed “Playmaker” is set to reveal his college decision Sunday, Aug. 8 at noon.
Williams, who began his high school career at Parkview before transferring to Johns Creek prior to the 2020 season, took his first unofficial back to the University of Kentucky as a freshman in 2018. The Wildcats were the second to offer Williams following their rival Tennessee.
A lot has transpired in the three years since that first visit.
He received over 40 more offers, and between unofficial visits and summer camps, he was able to take in several college campuses as an underclassmen. This past summer prior to his senior year, he took three official visits to Kansas State, Texas Tech and, most recently, Stanford.
“I’m definitely doing my homework,” Williams said. “I’m definitely not just going to the school that shows me the most love. It’s going to come down to a school that feels like home, has a good coaching staff and is academically strong also. Whichever school I choose will definitely be a school that provides for me outside of football.”
Williams’ top schools, in alphabetical order, are Kansas State, Michigan, Penn State, Stanford and Texas Tech. Fans should also keep an eye out for one school not listed in his top five: Mississippi State. Williams said the Bulldogs are “still in the running” since they’ve continued building a connection with him the past month despite not appearing in his top five.
So how does a teenager rack up over 40 scholarship offers to play college football? Williams can do it all on the field. He’s primarily being recruited by colleges to play defensive back, either cornerback or safety, but he does much more at Johns Creek. In addition to manning the backfield of the Gladiators’ defense, he plays wide receiver and is both the kick and punt returner. He’s even seen some snaps at quarterback in the “Wildcat” formation.
He’s also sharp in the classroom. Not any talented recruit receives offers from the likes of Michigan and Stanford to Harvard and Yale.
When asked if there are any NFL players he tries to mimic, Williams responded with Tyrann Mathieu and Richard Sherman. In himself he sees a bit of Mathieu’s versatility and Sherman’s intelligence.
“With my versatility on the back end, I can play corner, safety or the nickel. I’ll play in the slot, outside on the corner and on top of the defense at safety [like Mathieu]. I also look at Richard Sherman and the mental aspect of his game. The way he breaks down quarterbacks and receivers and cuts down their options just by looking at their film. I would say my film study is based on him.”
The only question left is “Which school will it be?” But nobody, including Williams himself, knows yet where he will be taking his talents after high school.
“The decision has not been made yet,” he told North Fulton Sports Report on Monday night, less than a week before his commitment. “Still in the air.”
Deciding which college to attend can be tough enough for the average student. Add in a few dozen scholarship offers, and the task can be daunting.
But Williams can handle it all.
Besides praying on the decision, he considers each and every aspect of the hats on the table. The state of the program and its record of sending players to the NFL. His conversations with coaches. The location. The academics. All matter equally to Williams as he’s searching for his next home.
“I think the most important thing [to consider] is if you weren’t playing football, would you feel comfortable at that school? You’re away from home. You’re there three or four years and it’s not like you can just come home on the weekend.”
Whichever lucky college program receives a pledge from Williams will be receiving an intelligent, well-rounded young man. Just take it from Johns Creek head coach Matt Helmerich.
“I’m going into my 20th year coaching, and if he’s not the best, he’s one of the best student-athletes that I’ve had at just balancing everything and time management, which is really difficult for adults, let alone 17 and 18 year old kids. Between school, football, track, 7 on 7s, workouts with the team, a trainer that he goes to and gets extra work on the side. And he loves Johns Creek. He’s at volleyball games, basketball games, soccer games. He’s just always involved with different parts of the school and community. He’s been a blessing.”
Williams said he plans to post his decision on social media and at noon Sunday Aug. 8. He will become the second Johns Creek player to commit this summer, following senior offensive lineman Tyler Gibson, who committed to Georgia Tech in June.