- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier made his in-home visit with David Williams (Philadelphia/Imhotep Charter) on Tuesday, and it only strengthened the Gamecocks’ lead for the ESPN 150 running back.
Spurrier was joined by area recruiter G.A. Mangus and running backs coach Everette Sands on the visit to the school and then later Williams’ home.
“It went well. My mom and them hit it off,” Williams said. “There was no awkwardness. Everyone was on the same page.”
Coming into the visit, the Gamecocks were Williams’ leader by a wide margin. Nothing changed, as Williams said the Gamecocks “are still my No. 1 ranking right now.” He will officially visit South Carolina the weekend of Jan. 18.
Through previous talks, Williams and Spurrier already had built a good relationship, and Williams had a lot of his questions answered already. His mother wanted to know about the education Williams would receive in Columbia and the potential of playing in the NFL.
“My mom was asking the questions, like what if I left for the NFL and the scholarship, if I can come back and get a degree,” Williams said.
Former Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore, who suffered a major knee injury this season, declared himself for the NFL draft Monday. Williams said he was a little upset to see Lattimore leave, but he knows it also gives him an opportunity to earn significant playing time as a freshman, just like Lattimore did in 2010.
“It made [South Carolina] more interesting, because that was always a question in the back of my head. I always felt good about South Carolina, but there was always a question of if he would come back,” Williams said. “I would have respected if he did, because I still would have felt the same [about South Carolina], because I could have came in and learned the offense through him being a mentor.”
Arizona State, Miami (Fla.) and Ohio State round out Williams’ top group. Hurricanes running backs coach Terry Richardson visited the school earlier this week, and Williams said he believes Ohio State could come by either Wednesday or Thursday.
Penn State continues to fight to keep the No. 6 player in Pennsylvania within the Keystone State’s borders, and running backs coach Charles London and area recruiter Ron Vanderlinden visited with Williams at the school Tuesday.
“They’re trying to get me to come for an official visit and basically said how Penn State hasn’t changed, it’s still Penn State, no matter what happened,” Williams said.
The Nittany Lions hosted Williams for several unofficial visits, and Penn State was in a very good position to land the nation’s No. 13 running back before the July 23 sanctions, which included a bowl ban and scholarship reductions.
Williams is considering getting back up to Penn State for an official visit, which would be his first visit since the sanctions.
“I’m thinking about taking a visit and just seeing how it is there since the [July 23] sanctions,” he said. “It won’t hurt to take a visit.”
5dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy