The decision by four-star safety Avantae Williams to sign with the Miami football program shocked college football on National Signing Day last week. Williams’ decision to sign with the Hurricanes was due to the loyalty and persistence of the football staff.
When Avantae Williams signed with the Miami football program on National Signing Day he shocked college football. The Crystal Balls on the 247Sports website had 15 projections unanimously expecting Williams to sign with Florida. Several former Deland High School players have suited up for the Gators.
Williams chose his own path. In a conversation with the Miami Herald, Williams’ high school coach Steve Allen said he wanted to be close enough to home for his family to watch him play in person, but far away enough that people from Deland in Allen’s words “be dragging down there all the time.”
Williams initially committed to Miami in the recruiting process, had been committed to Oregon and ultimately chose the Hurricanes. Although projected to sign with Florida, Williams was never actually committed to the Gators. Allen went into more detail about Williams’ decision and process of signing with Miami.
“He was trying to discern where to go on the visits, and he wasn’t going to take all his visits, and initially he wasn’t going to go to Miami, and I just kind of reminded him of, In life we do things with loyalty…I said, ‘Miami’s been in here on this thing the whole time and at the very least the right thing to do is to take the visit.’”
“The general consensus was he was going to UF. Geography, proximity — those things matter. It’s going to be hard for anybody to see him out there. At the end of the day, I think that’s far enough away at Miami where he’s not going to have people from DeLand dragging down there all the time.
He can get his family down and he wants to have them around, and he’s not going to be running back to DeLand all the time. I think that had a little something to do with it. It’s in-state, it’s far away, but it’s close enough.”
The decision by Williams to sign with Miami vaulted the Hurricanes 2020 signing class from 18 to 13th nationally. Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Category ’20 class. Jalen Harrell and Williams give the 2020 Miami football signing class a pair of four-star safeties coming in as freshmen.
Both Harrell and Williams will enroll later this year. Fourteen of the 21 freshmen that have signed with the Miami football program enrolled last month. That is nearly five times as many as the three that enrolled in 2019. Head coach Manny Diaz has often spoken about how special the 2020 class.
The Hurricanes need the 2020 class being elite to come to fruition. Diaz’s job could be on the line with how well this incoming class turns out. If the players are as loyal and perseverant as co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Ephraim Banda was Williams the future will be bright.