Avantae Williams is officially BACK.
After a year long battle with an undisclosed injury that he was battling even at the onset of his short career at Miami, Avantae is finally cleared for football activities.
The news has been met with great excitement, from players and the fan base. We can also rest assured that the coaches are thrilled to return Avantae to the practice fields. While a lot of that excitement is due to Williams abilities, much of that has to do with the story of how Avantae came on to the radar for Miami.
The younger cousin of former Hurricane running back Lorenzo Lingard, Williams committed to the Canes as a high school freshman on the same day as Lingard, during the spring of 2017. The season prior, the Deland (Fla.) athlete had 77 tackles and forced two fumbles that year. AS A FRESHMAN. Despite being unranked, the industry and most Hurricane fans fell in love with his ability and pedigree, dreaming about the legacy he wanted to set as a Hurricane. “The best players played at Miami,” Williams told 247Sports Ryan Bartow early in 2017. “I want to continue that legacy. Sean Taylor. Ed Reed. Ray Lewis. The Rock. It’s crazy the people that played there and are part of that legacy.”
As most fans understand, recruiting is a long road and to not invest too deeply too early. With his close cousin Lingard locked in, many fans grew to consider Williams as a Cane at that stage. Of course, the roller coaster that is recruiting struck the Canes, culminating in his decommitment in May of 2018. What followed was a wild ride. Despite a continued push from the Hurricanes, Williams would sign with former Hurricane offensive lineman Mario Cristobal and the Oregon Ducks in December of that same year.
Still, fans and, more importantly, the Hurricanes coaches, lead by now Utah State Defensive Coordinator Ephesians Banda, continued to pour into Avantae Williams and treat him as family. Following multiple visits to Miami in 2019, Avantae would decommit from Cristobal’s Ducks in December 2019.
From there, is our favorite part of the story. Despite strong overtures from the Florida Gators, to the point that nearly all recruiting analysts were predicting him to choose UF on national signing day, Williams would COMPLETELY shock the world, and chose to become a Miami Hurricane.
Williams, on his decisions to choose Miami, “The relationship with the coaches,” Williams as told to Andrew Ivins of InsideTheU when asked about the Canes. “I have a great relationship with everyone on the defensive staff, actually everyone really. It was a gut feeling and it’s where I felt like I needed to be.”
The number one safety in the 2020 recruiting class was a major win for the Canes, but, more than anything, it felt as though a prodigal son had returned. So when Avantae was ruled out for the 2020 season, many were genuinely hurt and bothered. With his long awaited, though never assured return to the practice field Miami, the Canes defensive backfield is officially a strength again.
Now that Avantae is slated to return to practice and for the 2021 season, there will be a ripple affect felt throughout the defensive backfield. While he was rated the number one safety in his class, it has been widely reported that he possesses the ability to play cornerback and at a high level. Assuming his weight gain has been limited to the injury, alternating between the hard hitting safeties role and a finesse first position like cornerback could help ease his transition into his final role.
At cornerback, the Canes recently added Tyrique Stevenson to the fold as a high level starter, previously at Georgia. Another defensive back hoping to be cleared soon is Al Blades Jr. Along with DJ Ivey, TeCory Couch, Marcus Clarke and Isaiah Dunson, Avantae would add another long and physically frame to coach Demarcus Van Dyke’s rotation, but with elite speed and playmaking ability.
At the safeties position, Williams would make that rotation possibly the most talented on the team, if not the conference. Future NFL talent Bubba Bolden leads a group of seniors, Gurvan Hall and Amari Carter, a pair of sophomores, Brian Balom and Jalen Harrell, along with super freshmen James Williams and Kam Kinchens.
The rich have definitely gotten richer.
If you’ve been following along, with Avantae Williams back on the active roster, the Hurricanes, come fall camp, will boast a top 5 defensive back from each of the last 3 classes.
Business, as they say, is Boomin’.
Welcome Back Tae’!