No one smiles bigger than Duaron Williams. But not even the man they call "Big Dawg" had ever smiled as big as he was Thursday night.
The broad smile on the face of the 6-foot-4, 294-pound offensive lineman from Orlando Jones High said it all. The "Big Dawg" was ecstatic in deciding to take his football skills to
"It's been a long year this year, my senior year ... starting off with tearing my ACL to now, getting ready to commit. It's been nothing but God, that's who I give all the glory and honor to, so let's not wait around," Williams said prior to his choice and then he donned the hat. "I've decided I'm going 'All In,' baby ... Iowa State."
Williams took his fifth and final official recruiting visit to Ames, Iowa, last week and came away unfazed by the winter cold and wind on the Midwestern plains. Not even 14-degree temperatures were cold enough to overcome the warmth of hospitality he and mom Angela Williams were greeted with from the people of Ames.
Scott was one of about 10 current and former Jones players on hand to support Williams, who picked ISU over hometown UCF and Kansas.
As for UCF, it was another commitment moment during which the black-and-gold hat remained sitting on the table.
"UCF was close to home and that's one thing I did like about it and that's why I stuck with them throughout the process," Williams said. "It was always good to have that option that my mom would be able to see every single game I played in at home.
And of course he also turned down the coach he was somewhat in awe of in new Kansas head coach Charlie Weis, who came to the Williams' home this past Saturday to make his Jayhawk pitch.
Williams was concerned about his recruitability in September, after tearing his ACL in the first game of the season at Lake Wales, shutting him down for his senior year. Several schools, however, stuck with him and his three finalists were there because of the loyalty, Williams said.
Shortly after telling his house full of guests where he'll be headed, he pulled out his cell phone to call Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads, who's excitement was obvious as Williams placed the coach on speakerphone.
"I'm standing here with my family and friends coach. I'm coming to Iowa State," Williams told Rhoads. Williams then said, "We're going to party it up tonight."
His popularity and that smile are infectious. He's a big teddy bear off the field but get him between the tackles and a ferocious confidence overcomes him. He'll likley play both guard and tackle at Iowa State.
Ahh yes, mom also made the trip to the Corn Belt to check out what Coach Rhoads had to offer, and everything was met with approval from Angela Williams.
Angela Williams raised Duaron with help from friends and family after Duaron's father, Charles Allen Williams, died of a
Wiliams did have someone to turn to back then. Former Orlando Evans, University of Miami and NFL star
Lang was out of town and could not attend the gathering, but Williams said, "He'll tell you ... I called him about 107 times today about this decision."
Lang said last year during Williams' junior season, "The good thing about him is he always strives to be the best. Duaron never played football, I'd say, till his seventh- or eighth-grade year, but I knew he had the work ethic.
That torn ACL certainly was not etched in the playbook, but through Williams' determination and his faith, he's still on the path to playing