SUMTER — Ty’Son Williams takes a handoff and heads upfield during the Crestwood High spring game. His gain elicits shouts of “Texas!” from his teammates.
It’s a reference to his previous home state and his military family. And it’s all in good fun, Williams said.
“I don’t take it as disrespect,” he said. “As long as you know who I am and what I can do.”
What Williams can do is run the football. He runs it so well that more than a dozen major colleges – including South Carolina – have offered scholarships. The 6-foot, 202-pounder is considered the state’s top senior running back prospect, and ESPN likes him as the No. 1 overall talent in South Carolina for 2015.
On a day in late May, Williams takes two of his carries and turns them into touchdowns of more than 50 yards. It’s a familiar sight for his Crestwood coaches and teammates. Williams ran for 1,516 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior after compiling 1,008 yards and 17 scores as a sophomore.
Explosiveness is what sets him apart as the state’s top back, Crestwood coach Roosevelt Nelson said.
“He can take a regular four- or five-yard pickup and it might be a 60- or 80-yard touchdown,” Nelson said. “He catches the ball well, blocks well, a very smart kid.”
May was a busy month for Williams. Recruiters from South Carolina, Clemson, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Georgia attended Crestwood practices.
Defensive line coach Deke Adams is Williams’ recruiter for the Gamecocks, and he also hears from running backs coach Everette Sands. USC is selling early playing time and a depth chart that’s not likely to include Mike Davis after this season, Williams said.
“They have to have three to suit up,” said Williams, who has visited USC twice this year. “One of the two that they sign this year has to be ready to play.”
He has named a top four that includes the Gamecocks, Clemson, Notre Dame and Wisconsin, in no order. With spring practice over, he plans to visit schools he hasn’t seen – particularly Notre Dame and Wisconsin.
Williams is still hearing from North Carolina and Mississippi State and keeping an open mind.
“It’s not necessarily locked down, my top four,” he said. “I’m still interested in all the schools. I’m looking for the best situation all around and the best fit for me.”
Williams plans to narrow his options in the coming weeks and make a decision this summer.
Nelson, who graduated from Crestwood and played at Clemson from 2001 to 2005, is helping Williams navigate the recruiting process.
“I give him some information here and there, what to look for, things to do and not to do,” Nelson said. “You’d never know he had that many offers the way he carries himself. He’s staying humble and staying grounded.”
Williams was born in Macon, Ga., and grew up a fan of the home-state Bulldogs. His mom’s job in the Army has taken the family on stints in Georgia, Kansas, Texas andSouth Carolina.
His recruiting stock rose after making the move to Sumter from El Paso, Texas. Being a military kid, Williams could see himself going anywhere for college. Still, he would like to make it easy for his family to watch him play.
Williams said he is enjoying the recruiting process but is trying to keep his priorities in perspective.
“It’s good to have choices,” he said, “but sometimes you’re so heavy into recruiting as if you’re going to be there next year. I’ve still got another year of high school ball.”