If it previously wasn’t obvious, it certainly should be by now. Darrel Williams does not shy away from a challenge. Need evidence? Well, just consider the next mountain that Ehret’s beast of a running back plans to scale, beginning Wednesday when he signs a national grant-in-aid to play college football for LSU. A punishing 6-foot-1, 225-pound power back, Williams has opted to follow his dream to attend LSU, where he must compete for playing time against not only the country’s top running back recruit, but also the nation’s top overall prospect in St. Augustine’s Leonard Fournette. “In order to be a great player you have to compete against the best,’’ Williams said unabashedly. “Leonard is a great guy. Me and him have a good relationship. I would love to play alongside him. “But in order to be the best you’ve got to compete with the best and I’m not going to run from competition. I love to compete.’’ Those words must make like sweet music to the ears of LSU Coach Les Miles and his recruiting guru, running backs coach Frank Wilson, particularly since as recently as three months ago it appeared that the Tigers had lost the state’s No. 2 running back prospect, based on NOLA.com rankings, to Arizona State. Williams had committed to Coach Todd Graham’s Sun Devils in late August, choosing the PAC-12 program over official offers from Georgia, Auburn, Tulane, Vanderbilt and Kansas State among others. Williams had become enamored with Sun Devils Offensive Coordinator Mike Norvell and the way he employed running backs in ASU’s Spread offense. Williams additionally was puzzled after participating in both sessions of LSU’s summer football camp to exit without the scholarship offer he coveted from his self-proclaimed “dream college.’’ “Since I was small LSU was always my dream college,’’ Williams said. “But when you get in the business (of recruiting) it’s not always about where you wanted to go when you were small. You’ve got to make the best decision for you.’’ “Arizona State, out of all of them, they saw what everybody is seeing now, then,’’ Ehret Coach Corey Lambert said. “They saw what Darrel was. They had a vision.’’ It was following those LSU camps when Wilson challenged Williams to prove himself as a running back. Having played quarterback for much of his junior year along with running back and safety during a un-Ehret-like 0-9 season, LSU coaches were uncertain about Williams’ ability to play tailback in the SEC. “I know Frank Wilson. He’s a great friend of mine, a great person, a great recruiter,’’ Lambert said. “I’m glad that he challenged Darrel. You challenge Darrel and he goes beyond what you challenge him. “It proved to be a great thing because not only did it help Darrel get the notice he needed from LSU, it helped John Ehret High School because it kept Darrel humble enough like he is and it kept Darrel grinding. “So he just put all of the recruiting aside. He said, ‘Coach, I’m not going to take any visits. I’m not going to do anything during the season. I’m going to roll. I’m going to work. I’m going to get it.’’ Though actively recruiting Williams, LSU did not make an official offer until early November as Williams was completing the most prolific season ever recorded by an Ehret runner in which he rushed for a school record 2,201 yards and 30 touchdowns on 232 carries. Williams also caught eight passes for an additional 335 yards and three touchdowns in totaling 2,536 yards and 34 touchdowns. He scored 212 points, averaged 183.4 yards rushing per game and 9.5 yards per carry while scoring nearly three touchdowns a game.
Darrel Williams running down a dream, eager to compete at LSU
New Orleans Times-Picayune | Feb 4