football Edit

2021 WR Mario Williams Is An Explosive, Dynamic Player

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Plant City (Fla.) wide receiver Mario Williams is a top prospect in the class of 2021, and his recruiting process has been busy with new offers as schools have flown through his high school.

The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder holds around 30 scholarship offers, including Notre Dame, and Williams has been impressed with Irish wide receivers coach Del Alexander. For more on his recruitment, click here for an update from Blue & Gold Illustrated last week.

BGI met with Williams' head coach, James Booth, to learn more about what Williams can offer at the next level.

"His explosiveness jumps off the screen," Booth said. "He's a dynamic player, but I think what separates him is how polished of a route runner he is compared to the majority of receivers his age. I don't think there's a route he can't run. He can get in and out of breaks; some of his touchdowns are some double moves, catching a curl and spinning outside and outrunning somebody."

In just his freshman year of high school, Williams not only started but he was featured in the Raiders' offense. He caught 42 passes for 703 yards and 10 scores as a freshman in 2017 and followed that up with 51 receptions for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.

"At about game three [in 2017], he came on to the scene," Booth noted. "I think he caught two touchdowns in that game. Ever since then, we started leaning on him."

Booth noted that in Williams' freshman season, they lined Williams up on the single receiver side of the offense and threw him the ball if his star playmaker had one-on-one coverage.

"People realized that we were going to that every time, so they started to bracket him," explained Booth. "We put him in the slot and he caught a lot of bubble screens that he took to the house. People started trying to jump those, so we put him on the outside, and he's running digs and curls. We've moved him around a lot."

Williams' high school has had a couple of prospects sign with Power Five schools in the past couple of years, but Williams fits the caliber of Clemson wide receiver T.J. Chase, who was a Rivals250 prospect in the class of 2016.

"Plant City has always had talent come through here," Booth said. "When you put him in the likes of TJ -- playing at Clemson, national champion -- I think [Mario] fits that mold, and Clemson is high on [Mario] as well. You're getting that caliber of a player. The lights aren't too bright for him and he enjoys the stage."

Williams' offer list is long, and he's still very early in the process of figuring out who his top schools are.

"Oklahoma was one of the earlier schools to get on him," Booth explained. "As much as they can get here, they get here. Alabama is on him. South Carolina is on him. I mean, you go down the list -- SEC, Big 12 schools. He's high on Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Notre Dame -- everyone in the playoff."

The original plan for Williams this summer was to hit the road and visit a bunch of schools. Instead, he will just visit Alabama and focus on studying for the SAT, which he will take this summer. Booth feels that Williams could play at a school like Notre Dame with high academic standards.

"I think he could definitely do it," he said. "They have a recruiting pitch of Notre Dame is elite in that area. They have high standards of football, high academics."

Look for another big year from Williams as a junior this fall.

"We're going to get the ball to him as much as possible," Booth said. "I think that makes me a better coach and us a better team. We're going to get him the ball and try to feature him. Hopefully that open the door for other players to step in and create their season as well.

"What's great about him is he's been a captain for us as a sophomore. He does the right things, his character is good, and he's humble. I think he's handling [the recruiting process] really well."


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