Xavier Williams had what he thought was a serious question for Alabama wide receivers coach Billy Napier last week.
Mario Cristobal, who was Williams’ primary recruiter at Alabama, left to be Oregon’s co-offensive coordinator, which left some confusion in Williams’ mind about where he stood with the Crimson Tide now.
The nation’s No. 2 athlete in the 2018 class has been in daily communication with the Alabama staff since Sept. 1, which was the first day NCAA coaches could communicate with 2018 recruits. Williams called Napier after Cristobal took the Ducks job and told him that he had been thinking about committing but he wasn’t sure if he’d be allowed to anymore.
“I called Coach Napier and said, ‘Coach, if my offer is still valid, do you think I could still commit? He then said, ‘What kind of question is that? Heck yeah!'” Williams told SEC Country shortly after he announced his commitment on Tuesday night.
The 4-star prospect had declared Alabama his leader since October and nothing had changed since then. Before Cristobal left, the former offensive line coach told Williams how Alabama only had three commitments in the Class of 2018 and they were all quiet when it came to recruiting other highly rated prospects.
Williams saw that as an opportunity to be that guy in the Tide’s 2018 class, just like what 5-star offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood and 4-star linebacker VanDarius Cowan were for the 2017 class.
“I am one of the top 2018 kids in the country, and they don’t really have an alpha dog, per se, in the class yet,” Williams said. “When I was talking to Coach Cristobal before he departed, he told me that I could be that alpha dog and have the 2018 class become the No. 1 class in the nation. I want to do that.”
Williams, who attends Chaminade-Madonna High School (Hollywood, Fla.), already has several other South Florida prospects who he’s hoping join him in Tuscaloosa in 2018, such as: 5-star cornerback Patrick Surtain, Jr., 4-star cornerback Asante Samuel, Jr., and 4-star wide receiver Mark Pope.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect said another big reason why he chose Alabama this early in his recruitment was because the staff showed him everything it needed to when it came to treating him like family.
Napier and Cristobal actually called Williams on one of the biggest family days of the year.
“They called on Christmas Day to wish us a Merry Christmas and asked if I helped put up the tree,” Williams said with a laugh. “It was just a strong family vibe from the coaching staff. They built a great relationship with my parents and me.”
Some fans may be skeptical on a 2018 recruit sticking with his commitment all the way through National Signing Day a year from now, but Williams says he’s all in with Alabama. Chaminade-Madonna made a deep playoff run this past season but came up short.
The timing of the commitment benefits his team, which is a main reason why he got it out of the way now.
“I really don’t see myself de-committing at all,” Williams said. “I just wanted to get this weight off of my shoulders and focus on my team. We are coming off a state championship run and fell short. I wanted to get this out of the way so we’re not going into the season with the focus just on me.
“There’s a big weight lifted off of my shoulders now. I still have to go through the recruiting process, though. I know coaches are still going to continue to recruit me because I am a highly rated player. I just got off the phone with my head coach and he made a good point to me. With all of the coaching changes that happen, some of those guys may be in the draft room one day and you don’t want to blow them off.”
Williams, who committed as an athlete and can play either wide receiver or cornerback, will be in Tuscaloosa on Jan. 28 for Alabama’s junior day where he’s planning on getting in the ears of several 2018 recruits already.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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