For Smiths Station defensive lineman Deondrae Williams, his college decision was about more than just football.
Williams said he plans to major in biology and become an orthopedic physician when his playing days are over. When the Naval Academy presented its pitch, Williams learned attending the academy would also help him get through medical school.
That opportunity coupled with joining a Midshipmen football program on the rise was something Williams couldn’t turn down.
Williams committed to Navy on July 27. A two-star recruit according to Rivals, Williams also had offers from Troy, Richmond and The Citadel.
“I would get the best education from Navy and also get the best opportunities in the field of study I want to go into,” Williams said. “From a football standpoint, their program is getting a lot better, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
In Smiths Station head coach Adam Fossett’s opinion, Williams will fit perfectly at Navy.
“It’s a great opportunity for him,” Fossett said. “In talking to (assistant coach Ashley Ingram) from Navy, we just talked about Deondrae’s off-the-field attributes as far as his character and the type of kid he is. He’s as good or better academically as he is athletically. It’s one of those deals where he had other options, and he and his family felt this was his best option.”
Fossett said Williams is a difference maker on the field and a natural leader among his Panthers teammates. Fossett also spoke of Williams’ determination, which shows in the weight room or in competition during football or wrestling.
“Deondrae is a worker,” Fossett said. “Whatever he’s going to do, he’s going to try and be the best at it. It could be sweeping the floor; he’s going to try and be the best at it when he does it.”
Williams said he wanted to take care of his recruitment before the season started. He said he’s excited about his upcoming senior season, explaining he wants everyone to see how hard he and his teammates worked in the offseason. Sometime this fall, Williams also plans to visit the Naval Academy.
After considering all his options, Williams concluded his best bet was to head to Annapolis, Md., after high school.
“The offer Navy gave me was once in a lifetime,” Williams said. “I couldn't wait and pass it up.”
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports