With three First Coast alumni already on the Florida roster there is a certain level of comfort and familiarity in Gainesville for cornerback Jamire Williams. The 6-0, 180-pound corner is one of the top prospects in always talent-rich Jacksonville and he’s got the Gators listed among his five favorite schools.
Senior wide receiver Kenneth Tookes and redshirt freshman linebacker Ryan Stamper are First Coast alums expecting to play a part in Florida’s on the field success this year but the player Williams will be watching most closely is Reggie Lewis. Lewis was a quarterback when he played at First Coast but he’s a starting corner for a Florida defense that could be one of the best in the country this year. Lewis has a chance to parlay a great senior season into an NFL contract and the Gators are hoping that Williams decides to be a First Coast legacy at that cornerback position.
Williams is plenty familiar with Florida. He was one of many big time athletes that attended the Friday Night Lights camp in Gainesville on July 21. That evening gave Williams a chance to measure his skills against some of the top prep wide receivers in the country. By the time the lights were turned off, Williams had turned in a strong performance. He more than held his own.
“It was good … I liked it,” Williams said of the camp. “The coaches said that I did good.”
Williams came to the camp without a Florida offer. The Gators need corners for their recruiting class of 2007 but they haven’t extended many offers. After Williams hung in there against seven of the nation’s top 20 receivers, he got the offer he was looking for a few days later.
“I got an offer that next Friday,” he said.
The Gators are in the thick of a five-team race for Williams. NC State, Ohio State, Tennessee and Maryland are also recruiting him hard but he does like what he sees of the Gators.
“I like the coaches a lot and I will be probably visiting during the season,” he said.
Williams has been working out in the offseason with Reggie Lewis but even though Lewis is a Gator, he hasn’t been pushing Williams to choose Florida. He wants what is best for his young friend.
“Reggie told me I need to do what is best for me,” Williams said. “I just need to see what school fits my needs.”
Williams talked about the other four schools on his favorite’s list:
NC STATE: “I just want to go up to State and see how I feel.”
OHIO STATE: “They offered me so I want to see it up close and in person the coaches, staff, the school.”
TENNESSEE: “I saw them play on television. They had big crowds at the game, so I just want to go up there and see what it is all about.”
MARYLAND: “I like the team.”
With a 10-game schedule for First Coast fast approaching, Williams will try to keep playing football and recruiting in proper perspective. He hopes to have a decision made by December.
“I want to have my decision done during the season and after I see the schools,” he said. “I will base it probably on the coaches and if they can spend time with me and my parents. I like that.”