As a highly mobile defensive tackle, they say Unity Reed’s Tyleik Williams is a game-changer.
He changed the college football recruiting landscape last week by picking Ohio State over Alabama, giving the Buckeyes the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation according to 247Sports, a recruiting website.
“He wanted to be around a coach who had a lot of meaning behind him,” said Unity Reed coach Carroll Walker, who was referring to associate coach Larry Johnson, who is one of the most respected defensive line coaches in college football.
“He wants to get with coach Johnson and master the techniques. Coach Johnson is one of the best in the business,” said Walker.
Johnson, 68, has been at Ohio State since 2014 after coaching at Penn State. A successful high school coach in the Washington, D.C. area, Johnson guided McDonough (Maryland) to a 139-36 record and three state titles, and also coached at T.C. Williams High in Alexandria.
Williams also looked hard at Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, LSU and South Carolina.
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day offered him a scholarship in April, but Williams was unable to visit Columbus because the NCAA shut down trips due to the pandemic.
Williams wanted to make his announcement on his mother’s birthday in June, but circumstances pushed it back to Aug. 27. He’ll sign in December.
The 6-foot-3, 325-pound Williams is Virginia’s No. 4-rated senior and the No. 10 defensive tackle by 247Sports. Coaches rave about Williams’ speed, athleticism and explosiveness, describing him as very quick off the line with great movement for his size.
Walker described one memory of Williams running stride for stride with Freedom’s quarterback, who weighed some 140 pounds less than Williams.
“It was a big game with Freedom and he was on the outside edge on a read option and he bounced outside with their quarterback. Their QB could not get around him with Tyleik’s speed. He ran with their QB as big as he is,” recalled Walker.
“He goes to the football. He will be very scary when he’s a completed product,” said Walker, adding, “He needs to compete against kids his size. He’s ready.”
Williams helped then-Stonewall Jackson to an 8-3 record and a Virginia Class 6 playoff appearance as a junior.
“He’s a very humble quiet kid. He’s a kid that likes to have fun. He’s personable, coachable. He takes coaching and respects the game,” said Walker.
Williams is still deciding whether to graduate early and enroll at OSU in January, which would rule him out of the rescheduled football season slated to start in February. “It’s still up in the air,” said Walker.
Unity Reed has a second elite recruit in junior Shawn Murphy, a 6-1, 198-pounder rated the No. 2 inside linebacker in the Class of 2022 and No. 55 overall by 247Sports.
“He’s another guy you’ll see on Sunday. He can play middle or outside. He is so dominant, coaches want him,” said Walker, who expects Murphy to make his decision in the summer of 2021.
“I’ll keep you posted,” said Walker, who also has some rising sophomores with major college potential.