- Brandon P. Oliver, Reporter, DuckNation
With official visits to two of this year's BCS bowl participants -- and an unofficial visit to a third -- in the rear view mirror, one of the biggest sleepers in the South is moving forward with his eyes on four programs.
ATH Juwaan Williams (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) saw his senior season come to an end on Friday night after a 23-20 loss to (Warner Robins, Ga./Northside). His three TD runs, including the go-ahead score with less than two minutes to go, weren't enough as Tucker gave up 20 fourth-quarter points to unbeaten Northside. With his football season behind him and his basketball season starting on Wednesday, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Williams is going to take his time evaluating his final four schools of Florida State, Notre Dame, Oregon and Vanderbilt.
"Now that football is done, I just want to enjoy the basketball season and take my time to evaluate all of my options," Williams said. "I have four great schools to choose from and want to make a good, educated decision."
Of the final four schools, Williams has officially visited Notre Dame and Oregon. His visit to Florida State two weeks ago turned into an unofficial visit after Thanksgiving plans with family forced him to shorten the visit.
"It was going to be an official, but I had family in town that I needed to spend time with," Williams said. " I still went down there [to FSU] but it turned out to be an unofficial instead."
Even though it was an unofficial visit and the Seminoles lost to the rival Florida Gators, Williams came away impressed by everything he saw in Tallahassee.
"It was a great atmosphere. The weather was cold and they lost the game, but the environment was everything I could have imagined," Williams said. "It was packed in there and it was a great visit. It was definitely a great time to be there."
Last week, the Williams family hosted Oregon defensive backs coach John Neal in their home. According to the versatile three-star athlete, the visit went as well as it could have.
"Coach Neal is just a great guy. He's a real genuine person and a great football coach," Williams said. "We just talked about their season, my season, basketball and a little bit of everything. It went really well and my parents were very impressed with him."
Williams' mother had met Neal previously, as she joined Williams on his official visit to Eugene in early October.
"She had already met him and developed a really good relationship with him while we were there," Williams said. "My dad and Coach Neal really hit it off as well. They were talking about basketball and a bunch of other stuff before we even talked about my recruitment. My dad was real impressed with him."
Williams said Oregon and Notre Dame are still undecided on where he would play should he sign with them.
"They just want to get me there and see what happens. I actually like the idea of just going in and competing for a spot, no matter where it is," Williams said. "FSU and Vanderbilt want me as a wide receiver, but Oregon and Notre Dame just want me to come in and compete. That's something that really piques my interest."
When asked about Oregon being the odd school out in terms of geography, Williams insisted that the distance doesn't create any disadvantage for the Ducks.
"Not at all. My mom feels comfortable with Oregon and both of my parents just want what's best for me. If that's the place that turns out to be the best place for me, that is where I'll go," Williams said. "It comes down to academics, the overall environment and the football program. Wherever I get the best feeling about how my future would be is where I'll wind up."
That being said, Williams is wise enough to know the one thing that anyone who has ever left home has experienced. Based on what his parents have said, Williams also made it very clear that Oregon is very much in the running for his signature.
"My mom is gonna cry when I leave no matter where I go to school. She's gonna call me every day whether I'm in Oregon or if I'm at Florida State. My dad just wants what is best for my future," said a laughing Williams. "My parents will support me regardless of where I am. They have already mapped out a plan for the first three games next year if I do go to Oregon."
Williams has just one more visit -- to Vanderbilt on Jan. 18 -- planned before making his decision, which will come on Jan. 28. After the visit to Vanderbilt, Williams will return home and clear his head by discussing everything with his family. After that, he says he will be ready to make his decision.
"Those four are the four schools I'm looking at, and it will be a tough decision," Williams said. "They are all great situations for me, so we'll just have to see what happens and how things go. If it's Notre Dame, the ACC, the SEC or the Pac-12, I'm going to have a great experience."
6dJeremy Crabtree and Brandon Chatmon