Signing Day Profile: S Avantae Williams

Signing Day Profile: S Avantae Williams

Stefan Adams
2020 Deland (FL) S Avantae Williams pulled a shocker and signed with Miami over the Florida Gators today. He’s the second signee of the February signing period and the 21st overall for Category20.


The 5-11, 170-pounder is currently a consensus 4-star in the national rankings. According to the 247Composite, Williams is the #44 player nationally, the #2 S in the country, and the #7 player in Florida.


Recruiting Story

The phrase “rollercoaster recruitment” gets thrown around too much, but I’d say it applies in this case. After committing to Miami in early 2017 as a freshman in high school, Williams looked like a lock to sign with UM when you consider his family ties to the program in Lorenzo Lingard and his lack of visits to other schools. That all changed when he surprisingly decommitted from UM in May 2018, and in an even more shocking move, committed to Oregon in December 2018 without ever visiting the Ducks. However, most assumed it was only a matter of time before he decommitted from Oregon and that he’d eventually end up closer to home; that decommitment happened in December 2019, and everyone in the industry pegged Williams to UF when Lingard transferred to the Gators in early January.

Although things looked bleak, the Canes still brought him in for a mid-January official, where they made some headway, but Williams still felt like a Gator lean. In the end, Williams pulled the classic signing day shocker, but this time things went in favor of Miami. Safeties coach Ephraim Banda never gave up on him even when it seemed like the Canes were out of it, and stayed in constant contact with Williams the entire cycle, so he gets a lot of credit for UM pulling the upset on UF for one of the top players in the country. No doubt about it, this was a huge recruiting win for the staff.


Evaluation

Williams finishes the cycle ranked as a top 50 overall prospect, the #2 safety in the country, and Miami’s highest ranked commit in the 247Composite; in my opinion, that ranking is justified. On tape, Williams profiles as an extremely hard-hitter that knows how to lower the boom on his opponent and attack the ballcarrier violently. Elite track speed makes him a dangerous weapon not only on interception returns, but on kick returns and gadget plays on offense as well. Those type of wheels give him great range on the back-end, and you can trust him in single-high coverages to clean up any mistakes. Reads the QB’s eyes well, and closes quickly on his target to pummel him into the ground. Takes good angles and fills gaps in the run game. Doesn’t show elite ball skills, but demonstrated improvement in that area of his game from junior to senior year despite only playing a half season in 2019 due to injury. Ultimately, he is nowhere near a finished product and will need some refining at some of the more technical aspects of the game, but Williams is truly an exciting safety prospect with no ceiling.

I was also able to see Williams at Paradise Camp over the summer and felt he lived up to the hype as a top performer at an event that showcased a lot of top-tier talent. In addition to safety, Williams played a little corner that day too, showing he is versatile enough to be moved around in the defensive backfield at the next level and he was extremely tough for receivers to separate from. Williams also showed off his blazing speed by winning the Fastest Man competition.

At the Opening Orlando Regional in February 2019, he posted a 4.52 40-yard dash, a 4.25 shuttle time, and a 36.20 inch vertical leap.


The Team

At safety, the Canes only lose Robert Knowles from last season’s rotation, and will return a senior Amari Carter, juniors Gurvan Hall and Bubba Bolden, and sophomore Keontra Smith, all of whom saw playing time in 2019. While Hall is a returning starter, Carter, Bolden, and Smith will all seek to earn the #2 job this spring. Miami also has multiple other safety signees from the early period who could be factors this season, including Jalen Harrell, Keshawn Washington, and Brian Balom.


Redshirt Probability: 2/10

While he may need to be reined in a bit and learn the finer points of the position, Williams is going to arguably have the highest upside of anyone on the roster from the minute he hits campus. For that reason, you can never count out him seeing playing time as a freshman, and it’s not like UM has a ton of established safety depth. The counterpoint to that is he won’t be able to get an early start in competing for a role since he won’t arrive until the summer. Also, even though he has developed his body considerably since he was a freshman in high school, Williams is still going to need to pack on a few more pounds of muscle to stick as an every down safety at the next level. After taking some time to get down the mental side of the game, I see Williams developing a late-season role, and that will be a lock to happen if injuries hit the position.

 

Comments (65)

I'll make drinks for the bartender tonight!
 
His weight should really be updated. He weighed in at 169 pounds last February (2019). Outside of his weight, his High School Junior year athletic profile is better than many safeties in the NFL combine.

Would be surprised if he doesn't knock off someone's head while on KOR or PR coverage units.
 
I wonder if he can be plugged in as the nickel. Or if any of the other safeties can play some corner? Bolden makes a full recovery and we'll have some good S and DE and athletic but young LB's. Curious how the CB and DT positions play out over spring and fall.
 

2021 Commits

S
6'5"
220
Fort Lauderdale, FL
OG
6'2"
295
Miami, FL
DT
6'4"
290
Miami, FL
DE
6'5"
210
Miami, FL
WR
6'2"
180
Miami, FL
RB
6'0"
225
Hollywood, FL
TE
6'4"
210
Frisco, TX
S
5'11"
200
Miami, FL
WR
5'11"
160
Fort Lauderdale, FL
OT
6'7"
255
Pompano Beach, FL

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2020 Schedule

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