Guest BasketBull. Posted April 26, 2008 Share Posted April 26, 2008 Durant's Williams Ready To Take Next Step The Tampa Tribune - February 15, 2003 Author: MARK J. COOK, Tribune correspondentDurant's Trae Williams is a coach's dream. Three attributes - talent, athleticism and unselfishness - helped the Cougars running back lead Hillsborough County with 22 touchdowns and finish second in rushing with 1,355 yards. This fall Williams will carry those skills to the college ranks after signing a scholarship to play for the University of South Florida. Durant coach David New can't say enough about his leader. "I hate to use cliches but Trae is the most unselfish humble kid and great student I've been around," New said. "He was a huge part of our success in winning our first district title. His vision is incredible and if you miss him at the line of scrimmage he's gone." Williams ' rise to Durant star began after his freshmen season. "We strongly considered moving him up before the end of his junior varsity season," New said. "He was that talented. We went ahead and let him finish the season there before bringing him up and he got playing time [on varsity] right away." Williams said the move was a big adjustment. "The speed was so much more at the varsity level," Williams said. "They also tend to hit a little harder than they did on junior varsity. I was glad they brought me up though, it gave me a head start for the next season." While his numbers garnered attention throughout his Cougars career, Williams was a starting defensive back for the Class 5A-District 5 champs. "His ability and pure speed made him a big a part of our defense as our offense," New said. "We played him at cornerback, strong and free safety, sometimes all in a single series. We played a lot of man coverage so we put Trae in a defensive position based on what we thought the other team might run. "While we rotated him in on offense he never came out as a defensive player," New said. New remembers the Cougars' 28-17 win against Lakeland on Sept. 20 as a breakthrough for Williams , who rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns and returned a punt 96 yards for another score. "Lakeland is a great measuring stick," New said. "If you are outrunning those guys you're a football player. I called Earl Lane the area recruiter and then sent that game tape over. From that point on they were after Trae ." Williams was courted by Iowa State, Louisville and the University of Central Florida in addition to USF but he said the decision wasn't very difficult. "I just felt more comfortable with the program [at USF]," Williams said. "Plus they have a great academic program and it's close enough my mom can come watch me play. "They made me feel like family all along and treated me very well when I went on my visit. They are an up and coming program and are building a first class facility." Every high school athlete goes through a transition period upon entering college but New is sure Williams can handle it. "Obviously there may be some growing pains," New said. "But Trae is so mature mentally that he will adjust quickly. He never gets too up or too down, he just stays even keel. That and his athletic ability will carry him." With the recruiting process over, Williams can now relax and enjoy his senior year as he prepares for next season. "I am glad it's over," Williams said. "I'm ready now to get there and see what I can do. "They told me they aren't bringing me in as an offensive or a defensive player but as an athlete, and that's fine with me. I'd like the offensive side of the ball a little better but whatever gives me the best shot to play is what I'll do." Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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