Steve Holmes remembers meeting Mike Williams as a freshman at Archbishop Spalding and being struck by how much potential the young lineman appeared to have.
Holmes, a Cavaliers assistant coach, also recalls exactly what Williams had hoped to accomplish through football.
“Since he was a kid, he always wanted to go to Maryland,” Holmes said. “Ever since he came to Spalding, that’s all he talked about.”
Williams doesn’t dispute his coach’s assertion. Throughout all the ups and downs the Terps football program experienced during Williams’ youth, the Spalding defensive lineman remained loyal to his hometown school.
“I really liked Maryland and the facilities and how close it is, how big it is. It’s just a really good school,” Williams said. “This is where I wanted to go. I never thought it could really happen.”
On Sunday, after working out at offensive tackle during Maryland’s football camp, the Terps’ coaching staff granted Williams’ wishes by offering the three-star prospect a scholarship. He committed on the spot.
“I just really thank Coach [Randy] Edsall and all the coaches for believing in me and taking a chance,” Williams said.
Holmes wasn’t at all surprised by Williams’ quick decision. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound rising senior had offers from Boston College, James Madison and Hampton, but Maryland was always the unquestioned leader. Holmes recalled Maryland's embarrassing home loss to Temple last fall, and Williams' surprising reaction to it.
“One of his big things was when he went to the Temple game last year,” Holmes said. Maryland “didn’t have a great game, but he saw how the players still responded and fans were still backing them. He felt good about that.”
Williams, who Holmes said “plays spot offensively,” worked out on both sides of the ball during the Terps’ camp. He could tell that coaches were paying extra attention to him, especially when he worked at tackle.
“They say I have quick feet for an offensive lineman, long arms, and I’m pretty much athletic and I’d be a real good offensive lineman that can help them,” he said.
Added Holmes: “They really like his movement, his quick feet, long arms. He can be a prototypical left or right tackle. He still has the body frame to add more weight. ... He can move laterally real well. And he had long arms, so he can fight off defenders.”
Williams and Holmes were both impressed throughout the recruiting process with Terps tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator John Dunn. In most of his conversations with Dunn and Edsall, one thing was made clear to Williams about Maryland’s plans for the future.
“They’re using Maryland guys and guys around Maryland to build up … the Maryland pride and win with Maryland guys,” Williams said. “I’m really excited. I can’t wait.”