By Tim Whelan Jr., USA TODAY High School Sports | October 5, 2017 3:13 pm ET
Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Hollywood, Fla.) athlete Xavier Williams has been lined up both next to and across from some great players in his high school career.
As he received his Under Armour All-America Game jersey Thursday as part of the American Family Insurance Selection Tour, Williams relished the opportunity to be among the best players the country has to offer.
“I’ve been watching this game for a couple years now,” Williams said. “It’s a great game, and with all the alumni you see that came from this game, I’m really amped up about playing in this. I think this is a good jump start for your career.”
Williams, a 6-1, 190-pound four-star recruit, is slotted as the No. 29 player in the Class of 2018, according to ESPN’s recruiting rankings. He has committed to Alabama, a decision he made in January of this year.
Williams is the latest in a line of Crimson Tide wide receivers with South Florida roots that includes Oakland Raiders star Amari Cooper and current Alabama players and Under Armour alums Calvin Ridley and Jerry Jeudy.
“Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, I know them personally, and my connection with them made me want to commit to the game even more,” Williams said.
Getting acquainted with legendary Alabama head coach Nick Saban is part of what helped Williams make his decision to head to Tuscaloosa. He doesn’t plan on taking any recruiting trips elsewhere.
“Getting to know him on a more personal level has been great for me,” Williams said of Saban. “As a recruit, you hear a lot of things, and people are going to tell you what they want. But I like to get to know people. My mother said, ‘This is going to be your parent for the next four years.’ That’s what it’s about, and I can tell he really cares about his players.”
The four-star athlete’s relationship with the Alabama family stretches beyond Saban. As both a receiver and standout cornerback at Chaminade, Williams mentioned both Alabama wide receivers coach/co-offensive coordinator Michael Locksley and Alabama defensive backs coach Derrick Ainsley as key influences.
“The relationship I have with all the coaches is a huge part of it,” said Williams. “Next year, I think there’s a very good chance I could be in the mix for that lineup.”
Last year as a junior, Williams caught 10 touchdown passes and finished with 866 receiving yards in helping Chaminade-Madonna to a 9-4 record and the Class 3A state championship game.
One of Williams’ goals is to help take his team on another deep tournament run.
“I plan on leading my team to states again and finishing the mission this time,” he said. “I want to finish up strong in school, finish strong in states, and prepare myself mentally for college.”
The Under Armour All-America Game is scheduled for Jan. 4 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. and will be televised live on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. EST.
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