UGA emerges as top contender for DL Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams tweeted a "selfie" with Mark Richt

Andrew Williams tweeted a “selfie” with Mark Richt

UGA was considered a long shot for one of the state’s top uncommitted football prospects until he took a last-minute official visit with the Bulldogs this weekend.

But now that 4-star defensive lineman Andrew Williams has toured UGA, the Bulldogs are considered top contenders, along with Clemson and Auburn. Williams will announce between the three schools at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in McDonough.

Williams decided to visit UGA after Bulldogs assistants Jeremy Pruitt and Tracy Rocker showed at ELCA last Friday.

“I think he had a blast,” ELCA coach Jonathan Gess told the AJC. “Well, I know he did. I talked to him. I know he had a great time. He really enjoyed being with Coach Pruitt and Coach Rocker. Obviously, we’re a Christian school and we’re believers. We all love Coach Richt, and Drew loves Coach Richt. I have no idea where he is going to school. I just know he loved his UGA visit and had a great time. If he signs with Georgia on Wednesday, I wouldn’t be one bit surprised.”

During the UGA visit, Pruitt spent most of his time selling Williams on the idea that he would be a good fit at defensive end for his 3-4 formation.

“He really enjoyed meeting with Coach Pruitt,” Jonathan Gess said. “It’s like I mentioned before, Coach Pruitt came from the Saban 3-4 deal and he kind of played a 3-4 last year at Florida State. I think, over the course of the season at the Florida State, he moved to more utilizing a four-man front.

“The big selling point was how he was going to fit in Coach Pruitt’s scheme, and Drew was completely excited about how he would fit in Coach Pruitt’s scheme. I think he was obviously excited about Coach Prutt and Coach Rocker, what they believe and how he would fit into the defense. Drew really liked that. He had a great time, and he had all of his questions answered.”

Does UGA have a legitimate chance? “I definitely think that UGA is in the mix now. Now I’m not Drew, and I’m speaking as a third party. But Drew has never let on to me where he is going to go to school. It’s obviously a tough choice for a kid when they take it this close to signing day. But Georgia is in the mix. There’s no question about that.”

Williams is expected to keep a low profile over the next 48 hours.

“There’s no question that there’s pressure,” Gess said. “You are talking about three great men in Dabo Swinney, Mark Richt and Gus Malzhan. They are great coaches, but — more importantly — great men. From my standpoint, you would want your kid to play for another one of those guys.

“And Drew is just like me. He has relationships with all those coaches, and he’s close with all those men. It’s going to be hard for him. It’s going to be real hard. That’s the hardest part. At the end of the day, you’re letting two schools down that you built close relationships with. You really trust those men. So he’s feeling the pressure, definitely.”

If UGA came seemingly out of nowhere to steal Williams away from Clemson and Auburn, it would definitely be one of this year’s biggest recruiting surprises.

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— By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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