Florida State Seminoles: Tre Williams

No. 1 center decommits from Auburn 

July, 23, 2013
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Auburn had been on a roll recently with five commitments in the last week, but the Tigers lost a big commitment on Monday night when ESPN 300 center Josh Casher (Mobile, Ala./St. Paul’s) reopened his recruitment. He first committed to Auburn at the end of March.

MOBILE, Ala. -- Nearly in the middle of the Florida and Mississippi borders is Mobile, Ala., a port city whose founding can be traced back to French settlers in the early 1700s. Its roots, in other words, run deep. As does the richness of its soil, both in the figurative and literal sense. Football players are born here. Today, the seaside territory of South Alabama and its epicenter, Mobile, represent the key to the recruiting success of many of the top programs in the country.

The Crimson Tide wouldn't have won consecutive championships without holding sway over the region. Though the area lies well below sea level, South Alabama represents the territorial high ground for Nick Saban and the University of Alabama.

Xzavier Dickson, Lance Thompson
Alex Scarborough/ESPN.comAlabama coach Lance Thompson has long been a recruiting commodity in Mobile.
When Saban arrived at Alabama in 2006, he came in with a plan to first win back Mobile, then the state, and then the country. Looking up and down the roster he inherited from Mike Shula, Saban was struck by the lack of players from South Alabama.

In his first year at UA, Saban sent his best recruiter, assistant coach Lance Thompson, to the area. Thompson helped gain the commitments of three of the top prospects in the region: Foley High star wideout Julio Jones, St. Paul's stud safety Mark Barron and Vigor High super athlete B.J. Scott. Jones and Barron would become All-Americans at Alabama before being taken in first round of the NFL draft. Even Scott, who wound up transferring back home to the University of South Alabama, was signed by the Chicago Bears in late April.

Fast-forward to the present and all three of Alabama's most valuable players -- quarterback AJ McCarron, linebacker C.J. Mosley and running back T.J. Yeldon -- are all from within earshot of Mobile. Right tackle D.J. Fluker of Foley would have been a senior this season had he not entered the NFL draft in April.

"When we came to Alabama we only had one player, Wallace Gilberry, from this area on our team," Saban said at a speaking engagement in the area last week. "Now we have anywhere from 13-15 (players) pretty consistently. We've had, I think, three first-round draft picks from this area, and probably a couple more guys on the team who could be first-round draft picks in the future.

"There's great (high school) programs here and we certainly want to do a great job in our state in terms of recruiting and it just seems that historically there's been a lot of great players from this area. We certainly feel fortunate that we've been able to get some of those players to come to Alabama and it's made a huge difference in the success of our program."

After the top prospect from Mobile signed with Arkansas in 2006 and then Auburn in 2007, the tables turned. Alabama took over and signed the highest-rated recruit from the city all but one time from 2008-11.

But what's happened in the years since shows how other schools have taken notice. Chris Casher, the top prospect from the city in 2012, signed with Florida State. And Jason Smith, a four-star athlete from McGill-Toolen High, signed with Auburn this February.

Alabama's grip on South Alabama hasn't loosened, but the pull from programs like FSU, Auburn and others has grown stronger, thanks mainly to shifts in the recruiters charged with scouting the area in the past six months. Dameyune Craig, who made a name for himself as a recruiter on the FSU staff, was hired by Auburn’s new head coach Gus Malzahn in January; Jeremy Pruitt, who made a name for himself as an assistant coach at Alabama, took the defensive coordinator job for the Seminoles in December; and Thompson, who returned to Alabama last year after a stint at Tennessee, shifted his territory back to where he started in Mobile. The trio is some of the best in the business, and they're all spending much of their time in the same area.

"They’re all great guys," Vigor High coach Ashley Johnson said. "...They’re great with the kids, interacting with them when they’re able to interact with them. They really, really learn them. They don’t forget a name, a face. They are really good at what they do."

ESPN 150 defensive end Justin Thornton stars at Vigor and has been recruited heavily by all three schools since before his junior season. The four-star prospect recently committed to Auburn, thanks in large part to the connection Craig was able to form.

"When Justin Thornton’s mom just had a baby, Dameyune Craig’s buzzing me. ‘Tell Justin I’m excited,'" said Johnson, marveling at how quickly the coach acted on the news. "They are up and on the know. I don’t know when they sleep."

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Official Visit: Thomas’ trouble; AU heats up

May, 8, 2013
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NoleNation’s Corey Dowlar talks with Phil Murphy about the latest in Florida State 2013 signee Matthew Thomas' saga, and TideNation's Greg Ostendorf stops by to talk about the impending decisions of ESPN 150 recruits Tre’ Williams and Justin Thornton.

Bama offers Auburn OL commitment 

April, 12, 2013
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama has always been interested in 2014 offensive lineman Josh Casher (Mobile, Ala./St. Paul’s), but the Tide sat back and waited while schools like Auburn, Florida and Florida State extended scholarship offers.


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Five OLB prospects for 2014 

November, 14, 2012
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Tre WilliamsGreg Ostendorf/ESPN.comTre Williams continues to be heavily recruited by FSU.

NoleNation takes a look at five outside linebacker candidates for the Class of 2014.

Tre Williams (Mobile, Ala./St. Paul's Episcopal) - Florida State's pursuit of Williams is about to enter it's third year. Way early on in the process, recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dameyune Craig identified him as a can't-miss prospect and offered. Now, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi and Southern Cal have all followed suit. At 6-foot-2, 217-pounds, Williams is on the ESPN Watch List. He's been to Florida State's campus on several occasions, but will be a tough pull out of the state of Alabama.

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LB Tre Williams enjoys Auburn visit 

September, 24, 2012
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Most people didn’t think Auburn had a chance on Saturday against LSU but not 2014 linebacker Tre Williams. The Mobile, Ala., native, who visited for the game, had a feeling it was going to be closer than expected.

“The game went great,” Williams said. “I had a feeling that it was going to be great because it was two competitive teams that were playing. I knew it was going to be a close one for some reason. The atmosphere was absolutely great, and the players played great, also.”

Auburn had struggled all season, losing its first two games and narrowly pulling out a victory against Louisiana Monroe the week before, but Williams saw major improvements from the Tigers in the LSU game.

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It's been a couple of years since Tre Williams (Mobile, Ala./St. Paul's Episcopal) last stepped foot on Florida State's campus. That's about to change.

Tre Williams
Greg Ostendorf/ESPN.comTre Williams of Mobile, Ala., is scheduled to see his first Florida State game in person on Saturday.
This Saturday, Williams will head to Tallahassee to watch the Seminoles as they open their season against Murray State. It will be the first time he's seen Florida State play in person.

"I haven't been to Florida State since my freshman year," Williams said. "So I am excited to see it again and I haven't visited in a while. I am excited to meet the rest of the coaches and also to meet my recruiting coach, Dameyune Craig. I also have never really seen them play, so that will be a good opportunity to see them."

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Although 2014 prospect Tre Williams is considered one of the top linebackers in the nation for his class and already has nine scholarship offers to show for it, the Mobile, Ala., native continues to want to get better.

On Saturday, Williams worked out at Auburn’s Mini-Camp II to learn from the AU coaching staff and improve his game for the upcoming season at St. Paul’s Episcopal.

“It was great to compete, great players, great class of 2014 with the linebackers especially,” Williams said. “The camp was very good at Auburn, and I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten better today.

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