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Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Renaissance man turns heads in Georgia

By Radi Nabulsi

JEFFERSON, Ga. -- A bystander watching Preston Williams (Lovejoy, Ga./Lovejoy) warm up at the Georgia state track and field championships simply said, “Who is that guy?” Williams stood on the edge of the long jump pit -- where he was challenging for a state title as only a sophomore -- and exploded with a flat-footed jump to the middle of the pit, reaching a height and distance that turned heads.

As did his outfit. Williams wore blindingly bright yellow shoes, mismatched socks (one was a multi-colored, neon leopard print, while the other was decorated with cupcakes), cut-off camouflage sweat pants over black leggings and a Lovejoy t-shirt. The ensemble was topped off with a gray scarf that would look great on a 78-year-old retiree from Boca Raton but seemed out of place wrapped around Williams’ noggin as a headband.

Preston Williams
Sophomore Preston Williams is turning heads, and for more than just his fashion sense.
“This is my look,” Williams said. “My jumping look -- I am exotic.”

While his fashion is eclectic, the true answer to who Williams is a lot more complicated.

The 6-foot-4, 185 pound sophomore is obviously an athlete. He is being looked at by a number of schools as a wide receiver.

“Alabama and Florida State are close [to offering],” Williams said. “Florida State has been on me really hard. I am going to their camp this summer. I am going to Alabama’s, Tennessee’s, Auburn’s and Georgia’s camps, too. Georgia wants me to come to their camp and they want me to come to their junior practice.”

But for Williams, it seems that football is just a gateway to other pursuits. Teammate Randy Anyanwu advises those looking into Williams to be sure to ask about his hobbies. “He is ... unusual,” Anyanwu says with obvious pride.

“Skateboarding,” Williams said. “I like to write poems and stuff. I was going to publish some of them, but I didn’t have a chance to -- didn’t have the time, really, with football and all my stuff. I do a little bit of theatre. I like comedy, but I can do drama too. I haven’t been going to auditions for plays. I have been doing more skits and monologues.”

Acting skills could help him convince a referee to give him the benefit of the doubt on a pass interference call. But dig a little deeper and you find that acting, poetry and skateboarding are secondary to Willaims’ main hobby.

“I am a model,” Williams said. “That is my offseason from football.”

Stalking a catwalk would explain his two–toned hair.

“I had a show -- runway, high fashion,” Williams said. “So I had to dye it.”

There is one thing, however, that is not part of Williams’ repertoire.

“I don’t sing at all,” Williams said.

According to Anyanwu, that might be the only thing Williams can’t do.

“It all just comes natural to him,” Anyanwu said. “He makes stuff look easy. It gets on my nerves sometimes, how he makes everything look so easy.”

Williams’ father went to Alabama, and Preston grew up a fan of the Crimson Tide, Georgia and Florida State, but he said that won’t factor in his eventual decision.

“I want good academics, and I want to play in a bowl game,” Williams said. “That is why me and Tennessee fell off, because I don’t think they are going to be able to play in a bowl game anymore, and if they do go, it will be a low one. I want a good campus. I’d like to be by the beach, so that helps with Florida State being in Tallahassee. Miami is a little too far, and a lot of people got in trouble down there.”

Then again, Williams might be the first recruit where fashion week plays a factor in his decision.

“I talk to Syracuse, too,” Williams said. “That’s in New York, so I could model up there.”