Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Juwaan Williams recaps Oregon visit
By Brandon P. Oliver
One of the more intriguing recruits the Oregon Ducks are pursuing for the Class of 2013 was in Eugene over the weekend for his second official visit of the year.
Tucker, Ga., athlete Juwaan Williams was impressed by his trip to Oregon.
Three-star athlete Juwaan Williams (Tucker, GA/Tucker) was able to get an up-close look at how things are run on the West Coast.
"I was really impressed with everything about it. People in the South like to talk about how West Coast football is soft and kind of casual," Williams said. "There is nothing soft or casual about what Oregon does. They do everything the right way."
The "SEC-like" game-day atmosphere impressed Williams, but the pregame routine is what caught his attention.
"Everything is well organized. From the coaches to the players -- everyone knows where they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to be doing," Williams said. "Before the game, I just got a feeling that the game was going to go exactly how they envisioned it. They were just too well prepared."
With his mother by his side, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound athlete was able to tour the campus and see the town.
"Eugene is a very peaceful place. No one is in a rush to get anywhere. People out there really seem to enjoy every day," Williams said. "The community is very close and the way the people and the local businesses support not only the football team, but the entire school, is very impressive."
Williams and his mother came away from the visit impressed with everything about the school and the program.
"The academic support they provide is incredible. They have a lot of resources in place to help students balance athletics and education," Williams said. "I know my mother was happy to learn about that and so was I."
On Saturday, Williams sat through team meetings and had a chance to sit down with coach Chip Kelly, defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti and his recruiter, defensive backs coach John Neal.
"The coaches are great. They want to get the best out of their guys and they truly care about you growing as a person," Williams said.
In line with their recruiting philosophy, the Ducks envision Williams coming and and competing at multiple positions.
"Coach Neal and Coach Aliotti talked to me a lot and let me know that they like me at cornerback initially," said Williams, the No. 103 athlete in the country. "I feel like I would have a better chance to see the field early if I played defense -- but they said that wide receiver is always a possibility."
Visits to Florida State and Vanderbilt still loom, but Williams left Oregon with a very strong impression. With an official visit to Notre Dame and a handful of unofficials around the Southeast under his belt, Williams discussed the game and the atmosphere surrounding the rivalry game with Washington.
"It was an awesome experience. The stadium was shaking a little bit. The students and the entire crowd were screaming and on their feet the entire game," said Williams, who will visit Clemson in two weeks. "It was just incredible. The support everyone shows is unreal. The entire stadium was decked out in green and yellow."
When asked to compare Autzen Stadium to any other atmosphere he has experienced, Williams didn't hesitate.
"The only thing I can think of is when I visited Florida for their game against Alabama," Williams said. "The players know to step up on the field and the fans know how to step up their game, too."
Williams said the only thing he or his mother could have a complaint about is the distance from home. That being said, they both realize the opportunity he has. Wherever turns out to be the best fit is where he says he'll wind up.
"My mom loved it out there, too. She felt comfortable with all the resources, support and care they showed," Williams said. "We talked about it and we both think that it's a small problem -- but if Oregon turns out to be the best fit for me and gives me the best chance to succeed and grow as a person -- then Oregon is where I will be."