At some point, more offers will come for Landon 2019 safety Jalen Williams. He’s 6-feet tall, 195 pounds, can cover the full field and has the physicality to fight receivers off their routes. He might not have a clearly defined position as it relates to the college level, but Landon coaches say he’s a problem for offenses at every position on the field.
“I embrace it,” Williams said. “A lot of people can’t do what I do.”
Coaches have told him to be ready; more college coaches are going to realize all of that this season.
Williams has only one scholarship offer, from North Carolina, earned before the Tar Heels coaching staff even saw him play live. Coaches saw Williams’ film after his freshman season, when he played safety, cornerback and linebacker for the Bears. Immediately, they thought he could fit into an Atlantic Coast Conference defense.
They extended a scholarship offer later that year. This past season, they came to Landon to see Williams work out, but the defensive back was sick and couldn’t play. Finally, he went to Chapel Hill this summer for a Tar Heels training camp.
Coaches called him over and solidified his scholarship offer. They want Williams to get faster and hit harder, they told him. They see him as a linebacker at the next level, but the kind that can defend a tight end in man-to-man coverage downfield or stick with a slot receiver in a zone.
Landon is ready to test Williams out in that role. After a sophomore season spent almost exclusively at safety, the Bears are moving Williams wherever he can create a match-up problem. He’ll line up at cornerback in man-coverage situations and drop deep as a safety looking for interceptions. He might step up as a linebacker to stop the run. He might even put a hand in the ground and rush the quarterback.
“I can play in the box, but I think my coverage skills are the best asset of my game. I can cover in the slot, I can cover out wide. I can blitz off the edge like a defensive end. You can put me anywhere and I’ll get the job done,” he said.
And if that happens, coaches have warned, a lot more schools are going to come calling. Maryland, Rutgers and Duke already hosted Williams this summer at invitational camps, but none offered a scholarship.
Williams said he plans to make more college visits after the 2017 season, but more colleges have to offer him a spot first.
» It’s worth reiterating how big a deal Daniel George’s commitment last month is to Penn State. George, a four-star, All-Met wide receiver out of Oxon Hill, committed to the Nittany Lions in July, we reported last week. He was also being heavily recruited by Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Maryland.
He named those to The Post as contenders when he released his top 10 schools back in May. Penn State was already at the top of that list. He’d considered committing there before his junior track season had ended.
His pledge to Penn State means Coach James Franklin cleaned up in the DMV on basically every target he wanted.
Ricky Slade, arguably the nation’s top running back in the class of 2018, committed to Penn State in February and hasn’t moved an inch despite repeated tries from other schools to pull him away.
Penn State grabbed Nana Asiedu, the seventh-best offensive tackle in the nation out of North Stafford, and P.J. Muphister, one of Maryland’s top defensive linemen out of McDonogh in Baltimore. In George, the Lions have taken Maryland’s best pass-catcher, a guy who stands 6-foot-2, 201-pounds, and is known for shoving defenders out of the way while route running. Oh, by the way, he’s a state champion in track and field, too.
All those gets, plus the charm of Happy Valley, made a huge impact on St. John’s linebacker Mekhail Sherman, a MaxPreps sophomore All-American. He called Penn State one of his “dream schools.”
Even in Maryland, Virginia and the District, Franklin has accomplished one of the key tenants of recruiting success: keeping momentum rolling. Each time a player has committed to the Lions, Franklin has landed another recruit before the hype has died down.
It’s no wonder Penn State has the fourth-ranked recruiting class in the nation for 2018, according to 247Sports, and it helps to be coming off a Rose Bowl appearance.
“Winning helps everything,” Sean Fitz, publisher of Lions247, part of the CBSSports family of websites, told The Post in June. “When you can put together a season like you had based on the kids you brought on the past couple years, that’s pretty great.”
» Mount Vernon has a pair of playmakers nearly ready to commit, Coach Monty Fritts said. Quarterback Tim Heltzel is high on Georgetown, Fritts said. The Hoyas are also very interested in the Majors’ gunslinger, who threw for more than 2,000 yards and 24 touchdowns with only four interceptions his junior season.
All-around athlete Darrien Newton, who played tailback and wide receiver last season and racked up 1,300 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns in an injury-shortened season, is set on Army, Fritts said. The Black Knights are waiting for the first couple games of the 2017 season to see how Newton’s knee holds up — he tore his meniscus at the end of the 2016 season — before offering a scholarship.
» C.H. Flowers 2018 offensive tackle Jamree Kromah committed to Old Dominion in July. He also had competing offers from Army, Navy, Rutgers and Bowling Green.
» Potomac (Md.) 2018 cornerback Ryan Carroll committed to Connecticut last month.
— RC8 (@RyanTheGr8_) July 24, 2017
» Keep an eye out for 2019 Sidwell Friends offensive tackle Walter Rouse, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound blocker shooting up the target list for Power 5 conference schools.
Maryland, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Duke and several Ivy League schools have already visited the Northwest school to meet Rouse and see him work out, Quakers Coach John Simon said. Colleges love his frame, ideal for a Division I left tackle, and his footwork.
“I’ve had national recruits in the past,” said Simon, entering his 21st season with the Quakers. “He stacks up with them. He’s going to be the biggest and best lineman I’ve had since I’ve been at Sidwell.”
» We’re trying to keep a running list of all the players in the area with Power Five conference offers. And we’ve recently added a page for the class of 2020. Are we missing anyone? Let us know by commenting on this article or tweeting @jacobbogage, and we’ll make updates.
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