Dawgs’ day? DeLand’s Williams says he likely will sign with Ge­or­gia

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS FRIDAY - By Chris Hays

The crazy world of Avan­tae Williams con­tin­ues to spin, but not nec­es­sar­ily out of con­trol. Williams, a se­nior safety out of DeLand High, told the Orlando Sen­tinel on Thurs­day night dur­ing the Un­der Ar­mour All-Amer­i­can Game at Camp­ing World Sta­dium that he likely will sign with Ge­or­gia when the sec­ond Na­tional Sign­ing Day rolls around Feb. 5.

“Yeah, Ge­or­gia, I’m pretty sure it will be them,” Williams said.

If he in­deed does sign with Ge­or­gia, he’ll join Apopka de­fen­sive line­man Jalen Carter, who also played in Thurs­day’s Un­der Ar­mour event, as a Bull­dog.

Carter made the most of his op­por­tu­ni­ties dur­ing the all-star show­case, earn­ing MVP hon­ors for Team Sav­age.

Kid­ded that per­haps Carter talked him into join­ing him in Athens, Williams smiled big and laughed.

“Maybe a lit­tle,” he said. Williams’ high school ca­reer has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride.

He couldn’t de­cide which high school he would at­tend in the early stages, start­ing out at DeLand as a fresh­man be­fore trans­fer­ring to play at Day­tona Beach Main­land as a sopho­more. He an­nounced be­tween at­tend­ing those two schools that he was

headed to Braden­ton’s IMG Acad­emy. Williams re­turned to DeLand as a ju­nior for the 2018 sea­son, and that’s where he fi­nally set­tled, fin­ish­ing his ca­reer there this past sea­son.

Then came his col­lege re­cruit­ment.

Williams was of­fered a schol­ar­ship by then Florida head coach Jim McEl­wain in 2015, when he was in eighth grade. He com­mit­ted to Mi­ami af­ter his fresh­man sea­son at DeLand, but he even­tu­ally de­com­mit­ted from the Hur­ri­canes in May 2018 and com­mit­ted to Ore­gon in De­cem­ber 2018. Just be­fore early Na­tional Sign­ing Day in De­cem­ber, Williams de­com­mit­ted from the Ducks and re­opened his re­cruit­ment.

He says, for now, it’s Ge­or­gia, but he still has of­fi­cial vis­its to Ole Miss and Florida sched­uled for con­sec­u­tive week­ends at the end of the month.

Stay tuned.

In to­tal, 20 Florida play­ers par­tic­i­pated in the Un­der Ar­mour All-Amer­i­can con­test, giv­ing the Sun­shine State one of its strong­est show­ings.

The game also fea­tured four re­cent Florida Ga­tors signees: Ar­ling­ton (Texas) High de­fen­sive back Ja­hari Rogers, Wash­ing­ton (D.C.) St. Johns Col­lege High safety Morde­cai McDaniel, Lake Wales de­fen­sive line­man Ger­von Dex­ter and Dun­nel­lon re­ceiver Jaqua­vion Fraziars.

Mi­ami had the strong­est rep­re­sen­ta­tion among state schools with five fu­ture Hur­ri­canes: Trussville (Ala.) He­witt-Trussville re­ceiver Daza­lin Wor­sham, Or­ange Park Oak­leaf de­fen­sive end Chantz Williams and of­fen­sive line­man Jalen Rivers, Deer­field Beach ath­lete Jay­lan Knighton and Braden­ton IMG Acad­emy re­ceiver Michael Red­ding III.

FSU had two rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Free­dom cor­ner­back De­morie Tate and Largo line­backer Jay­lon McClus­ter.

Na­tional cham­pi­onship game par­tic­i­pant and reign­ing cham­pion Clem­son had eight com­mit­ments or signees play­ing in the game, while the Tigers’ ti­tle-game op­po­nent, LSU, had seven play­ers, in­clud­ing Fort Laud­erdale St. Thomas Aquinas of­fen­sive line team­mates Mar­lon Martinez and Marcus Dumervil.

CHRIS HAYS/ORLANDO SEN­TINEL

Apopka de­fen­sive line­man Jalen Carter, left, was named MVP of Team Sav­age dur­ing the Un­der Ar­mour All-Amer­i­can Game on Thurs­day night at Camp­ing World Sta­dium.

/CHRIS HAYS

DeLand safety Avan­tae Williams said he is lean­ing to­ward sign­ing with the Ge­or­gia Bull­dogs next month.

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