In this installment of The Recruiting Notebook, we meet a heat-seeking missile who is yet another blue chip piece to add to the Safety room: Orlando (FL) Evans 4-star S Markeith Williams.
Miami has stacked elite player after elite player at the Safety position for a few years. But that work is never done, so the Canes turned their attention to Orlando Evans 4-star S Markeith Williams in the 2022 recruiting class.
Early on, Williams seemed to have his sights set on Ohio State for his college home. But things turned for Miami when Evans alum Ishmael Aristide was hired as OLB coach at Miami. The Canes quickly leveraged his connections in Orlando, particularly with Williams at his alma mater, to make a move with the talented defender.
Following an Official Visit to Columbus in late June, Miami pushed hard for Williams. There was an unofficial visit to Coral Gables for an invite-only Junior Day at the end of July, and a couple weeks later, Williams was in the boat as a Miami commit. And, following that commitment, Williams continued to take unofficial visits to Miami — 3 more through the regular season to be exact.
And, despite an unofficial visit to Florida, he stuck with his commitment and signed with Miami early in the morning on the first day of the Early Signing Period.
On the 247sports composite, Williams is a 4-star prospect, the #26 S nationally, #31 in the State of Florida, and #287 player overall in this class.
Williams committed to Miami over offers from Nebraska and Ohio State from a list of 20 scholarship offers from around the country
As A Player
Though he’s very thin at 6’1” 170lbs, Williams is known as a big hitter in the middle of the field. He loves to get downhill from an alignment over the slot, and has many big hits to his credit on film when beating blocks against bubble screens to his side of the field. Williams uses momentum to run through ball carriers more than physical strength, but hey, whatever works.
Williams is more of an over the top Safety than in the box head bussa. He’s long and lean and covers plenty of ground from sideline to sideline. But don’t get me wrong, Williams is quick to come downhill if/when he diagnoses plays to his side of the field. But he’s not a defacto linebacker for Evans in the mold of, say, what an Amari Carter was coming out of Palm Beach Gardens years ago.
Williams has shown an ability to play man to man coverage in short yardage situations — think against a goal line fade. Even still, I think this is an area for growth, especially if he’s tasked with man coverage from his normal Safety position, would would put him up against either a fast/shifty slot receiver or RB, or a bigger, more physical TE in most cases.
Also, I didn’t overtly say it so let me do that here: Williams will need to gain weight to be a contributor at Miami. 6’1” (or 6’2” as listed on his highlights) and 170lbs isn’t going to cut it. Not in the ACC. And not at Miami. But, the good thing is, he has the long, lean frame to add some weight and still maintain his movement skills, which will be key to his, and Miami’s, success moving forward.
For another eval on Williams, here’s what 247sports Southeast Recruiting Analyst Andrew Ivins had to say about the player:
Tall, rangy athlete with some length in the arms. Skinny, even for a high schooler. A ballhawk of a safety that can patrol the backend of a defense and create takeaways. Uses longer stride to chew up turf. Able to change directions better than most. Reads the quarterback well from his deep alignment. Quickly recognizes and diagnoses route concepts. Fills the alley with a purpose as a run defender. Always looking to strike someone. Described by coaches as a ‘tone setter’ given physical style of play. Broke his wrist on the first defensive series of a game as a junior and refused to leave the field. Ended up leading his team in tackles that night. Has some experience in man coverage, but that’s an area of his game that he can keep improving. Must also add some muscle in both the upper and lower halves if he’s going ever going to be able to wrangle college-sized tight ends and running backs. Picked off six passes as a freshman and seven more as a sophomore before quarterbacks started looking the other way. Should find plenty of success at the Power 5 level given range. Could excell in a single-high system. Longer frame will likely have him on the NFL’s radar.
- Downhill mentality against run and bubble screen pass games
- Toughness (played full game with broken wrist)
- Play recognition
- VERY thin physical build
- Man to Man coverage skills
Note: changed this up from just a freshman-season outlook to a career outlook for each player last year and we’re continuing that style this year as well.
Plain and simple, Williams’s future success, or lack thereof, comes down to his ability to reshape his body and add muscle and functional strength. He can do everything you want him to do on the field, but he doesn’t have the body with which to do it at the collegiate level yet.
Whereas some players are day 1 starters, Williams will likely take a redshirt and work his way into the rotation in his 2nd or 3rd year on campus. But, don’t let that protracted timeline fool you: he’s a guy who can play here, and play a lot, and play well, given time to develop physically and skill-wise.
Due to the fact that he needs such a major reshaping of his body, Williams could just as likely flame out after a year or two as he could turn into a foundational player on the Miami defense. But, either way, expect not to have the answer to which one he becomes for another 2 years at a minimum.
That’s it for this installment of The Recruiting Notebook.