In this installment of The Recruit Notebook, we meet an elite pass rusher who has the skills to be the next big thing at DE for the Canes: DE Chantz Williams.
You can never have too many pass rushers, and the Miami Hurricanes have been focused on bringing in multiple players at this key position. Primary among the available options was Orange Park (FL) Oakleaf 4-star Chantz Williams. If the name of the HS seems familiar to you, it should: senior LB Shaquille Quarterman attended Oakleaf, and Miami was connected with several other Oakleaf prospects in the past couple of years.
Early on, Williams and teammate 4-star OT Jalen Rivers made it known that they were planning on being a package deal: committing to and signing with the same school for the next step of their career. And with that knowledge, teams around the country recruited the pair together.
As spring 2019 came around, there seemed to be a fracturing of that mindset between close friends Rivers and Williams. Miami continued recruiting both players, but seemed to have more of a foothold with Rivers than Williams. And as the players started viewing things differently, their recruitments became fully individual pursuits.
For Rivers, Miami was pretty much always the leader, and he committed to the Canes first. For Williams, he’s the one who had doubts. Many teams who employ 3-4 defensive schemes were recruiting Williams and, for a time, Florida was thought to be the odds on favorites to sign the 6’4” 238lb edge rusher.
In the spring of 2019, the stage seemed set for Williams to commit to Florida. But, despite pretty much everyone in the recruiting world expecting a commitment to come, it didn’t. The reason why Williams didn’t commit are immaterial here; the point of fact is that he didn’t commit elsewhere in the spring, and began to turn his focus to the same school his HS teammate Rivers was already committed to: Miami.
After a few visits, both elsewhere and to Miami twice, Williams committed to the Canes in July, giving Miami the packaged deal they had been working for over the course of nearly a year, and adding an elite prospect to the 2020 recruiting class.
On the 247sports composite, Williams is a 4-star prospect, the #4 DE nationally in this class, #14 in the State of Florida, and #77 recruit overall.
Williams committed to Miami over offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, and Florida State from his list of 23 scholarship offers.
As a player
Williams is an ATH-A-LETE. At 6’4” 238lbs, he’s tall with long arms and good muscular development. He could stand to gain some muscle and strength, but he has the frame to do that easily once he gets into Miami’s Strength and Condition and Nutrition programs.
Williams is a 3 sport standout, so he hasn’t really fully dedicated himself to Football yet. He starred on the Basketball team, as well as the Track and Field team in High School, and all that cardio was probably a factor in him not being even more developed physically at this time.
Due to his size and athleticism, Williams was a versatile player for Oakleaf’s defense. He lined up in multiple positions, and did them all well. His best position, however, was at DE, where he was both a solid run defender and electric pass rusher.
Williams tested incredibly well over the spring at camps and combined. He was timed at 4.56 in the 40 yard dash (many WRs would love that time), 4.49 in the short shuttle, with a 36 in vertical an 80 inch wingspan. It’s easy to see why he was a terror on the gridiron, an eraser on the hardwood (Williams is Oakleaf’s all-time career leader in blocked shots), and dynamic on the track as well.
For another look at Williams as the football only prospect, here’s what former 247sports and now Sports Illustrated recruiting analyst John Garcia Jr. had to say about Williams:
Long edge prospect with lean, athletic build. Pure pass rusher with explosive first step and developed technique. Can beat blocker with speed or strong pound-for-pound force. Powerful lower-half with great wingspan. Aware on the edge and can play the football if initial rush is unsuccessful. Redirects well and pursues with great motor. Can navigate tight spaces and play through the wash. Runs well and tests well. Stand-up ability with considerable experience with his hand in the dirt as well. Good lateral mover. Once focused solely on football should fill out well at high-end Power Five program and see snaps sooner rather than later. In the day and age of spread offenses and pass-first programs he could become key cog in elite defense and spur it into pro career thereafter.
- Incredible athlete
- Physical development
- Can refine technique since he’s never focused fully on football
- Recent injury history (missed half his senior year)
If there’s a position that Miami has been good at recruiting and developing recently, it’s Defensive End. With Williams, there’s another blue chip talent for the Canes to put on the field. That’s worked out well for the many players of his caliber who have preceded him, and it should be no different with Williams.
Chances for a Redshirt: 4/10
There are PLENTY of snaps to be had at DE next year. If Williams can prove himself worthy, he should see the field. But, there are other players in this recruiting class (and potentially from the Transfer Portal) competing for those snaps as well, so Williams may, or may not, take a redshirt in 2020.
That’s it for this installment of the Recruiting Notebook.