Bulldog senior changes
commitment to Alabama
Chavis Williams makes one of his 123 tackles this season. Williams
de-committed to Arkansas and will sign with Alabama on Wednesday.
(Photo by Johnathan Bentley)
RUSSELL MOORE and JOHNATHAN BENTLEY
The Daily Mountain Eagle
Published February 03, 2007 5:53 PM CST
DORA — Chavis Williams was comfortably sitting in anatomy class
Friday morning when a popular figure visited Dora High School. It
was Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
And he had a football scholarship awaiting the Dora defensive end.
Williams didn’t hesitate at all in swaying his verbal commitment
from Arkansas to the Tide. He also became the county’s first
Southeastern Conference commitment since Parrish’s Tony Dixon.
Williams will sign a letter-of-intent on Wednesday, national signing
Saban’s visit wasn’t too much of a surprise for Williams
after the Dora senior spent last weekend in Tuscaloosa on a recruiting
“I had an idea he might come because I had been
talking with Alabama anyway,” Williams said. “It’s
just best for me to go there. At first I thought it was just going
to be coach (Kevin) Steele coming. Then he called and told me that
coach Saban was coming. I was like, ‘Wow!’ That kind
of sealed the deal for me right there.”
Saban arrived at Dora at 10 a.m. Friday and
spent approximately 30 minutes in principal Ricky Pate’s office
along with Steele, Williams and Dora head football coach Johnny
Saban didn’t have to sell Williams
on the program too much. After last weekend’s visit, Williams
was just waiting on an offer from the Tide.
“I had a real good time last weekend
and hung out with the team. I learned a lot about the defensive
schemes and was told what was expected as an outside linebacker,”
Current Alabama linebacker Prince Hall guided
Williams around the campus last weekend as they attended Alabama’s
basketball game with Arkansas. Hall also did his part in persuading
Williams to the Capstone if the opportunity arose.
“Prince said that if I came here all
I needed to do was work hard, and I could have a chance to play
early on at outside linebacker,” added Williams, who spent
his Dora career at defensive end and tight end.
Saban also had his words of encouragement
for the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Williams.
“Coach Saban said he likes the way
I get to the ball, my size and ability to grow. He told me if I
work hard I can go to the next level. He also said the most important
thing is to get an education,” said Williams, who is planning
to major in business.
Wright, who helped Williams through the decision-making
process, was thrilled to see the end result. It’s Dora’s
first SEC commitment in 12 years.
“I told coach Saban that he was getting
a guy who will play hard. Chavis is a big guy who can play physical
ball and run. He has tremendous work habits and has always worked
hard since I’ve had him. The whole community of Dora is excited
for him. He will fit in well there,” Wright added.
Alabama has eventual plans for Williams at
outside linebacker after losing Juwan Simpson and Terrence Jones
to graduation. Hall finished third on the team last year with 77
tackles and is slated to move to middle linebacker.
Williams had previously gave Arkansas a verbal
commitment on Oct. 31, but the strong pursuit by Alabama was too
hard to decline.
He still has the utmost admiration for the
“Arkansas was always a good choice.
I’ve still got a lot of respect for Arkansas and for coach
Markuson who recruited me,” Williams said. “Right after
Arkansas offered me, Alabama came in. They’ve been on my mind
since then. When coach Saban was named coach I was thinking, ‘Man,
I wish I could play for them. He’s a good leader.’”
Williams was an integral part of Dora’s
success last season. He helped direct the Bulldogs to an 11-2 campaign
and to the 4A quarterfinals. Williams was a threat on both sides
of the ball. He was second on the team with 123 tackles and he finished
with 393 receiving yards and six touchdowns offensively.
Williams realized his Division I potential
toward the end of last season.
“Actually it came to me last year that
if I worked really hard I would have a chance to play in college,”
Williams said. “I started to really understand my ability
He will begin his college career in July
when he plans to attend classes and workout with the team.
Williams, who grew up an Auburn fan, is thrilled
to be able to continue his football career close to home so he can
leave a mark for the area.
“Now I want to beat Auburn, and I want
to represent the county and area well,” Williams added.
Wright, who has coached Williams on the varsity
squad for the last three years, found about Alabama’s visit
“Coach Steele was on his way and asked
me if Chavis was still interested in going to Alabama. I had a talk
with Chavis and he said he definitely was. That’s when (Steele)
called coach Saban and they headed up here. Coach Steele got here
first and Saban was about 30 minutes behind him,” Wright said.
“This is really what Chavis wanted. He’s canceling everything
else. He’s worked himself hard to get to this position. He’ll
reap the benefits.”
Wright said Dora’s success on the gridiron
has brought increased interest in his players by college recruiters.
The Bulldogs have won 51 games over the last five years.
“We’ve put Dora on the map with
our success over the last few years. Our kids are getting noticed
and I think that has a lot to do with it. Having Chavis sign will
help out tremendously. People know where Dora High School is and
they know that we’ve got some people who can play in Walker
Williams is the 22nd-ranked prospect in the
state according to Rivals.com and is a three-star recruit on the
Alabama now has eight verbal commitments
from the top 30 prospects in the state, while Auburn has seven.
Alabama has commitments from Decatur linebacker
Rolando McClain, defensive tackle Kerry Murphy, Athens defensive
tackle Alfred McCullough, Hoover offensive lineman Patrick Crump,
Prattville defensive lineman Nick Gentry, Williamson offensive lineman
Nick Fairley, Mountain Brook offensive lineman William Vlachos and
B.C. Rain defensive tackle Elliott McGaskin.
The Tide is also awaiting word on McGill
Toolen’s Sidell Corley, who is a four-star defensive end.
Corley is strongly considering Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
Auburn’s top recruits in the state
are Davidson defensive back Michael McNeill, Hoover offensive lineman
Ryan Pugh, Benjamin Russell linebacker Eltoro Freeman, B.C. Rain
defensive back Ryan Williams, Huntsville wide receiver Quindarius
Carr, Hoover defensive tackle Josh Chapman and W.S. Neal offensive
lineman Jared Cooper.