In a city known for triumphant underdogs, it's fitting that David Williams of West Catholic (Philadelphia) went from third on the depth chart at running back for the Burrs as a sophomore to star status early into his junior campaign this past fall. Now coveted by major college programs across the country, with an offer from Ohio State being the most recent evidence of this reality, the ESPNU 150 Watch List standout must navigate the process of making a difficult college decision.
But before he decides where he'll take his considerable talents on the college level, the speedy back -- who clocked a 4.44 40-yard dash at the Philadelphia Nike Football SPARQ Combine -- must first find a high school to attend for his senior season. West Catholic, which dates back to 1916, is closing its doors in a wave of Catholic school closings across the Philadelphia area.
Williams is mulling local powers like LaSalle (Wyndmoor, Pa.) and POWERADE FAB 50 powerhouse Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) as potential landing spots for his senior year. He says he finds value in this unique process as it helps him on the road to the next level.
It's time to Get Familiar with David Williams.
ESPNHS: Your game is a blend of power and speed. Is there a running back in the pros or on the college level that you model your style after?
Williams: It's DeMarco Murray, no doubt. He's a complete back; he's strong when you need those short yards but also versatile in the passing game. I guess I also identify with him being an underdog and when he got the chance with the Cowboys, he ran with it. I like when a back can show off speed but then also isn't afraid to drop that shoulder and play physical.
ESPNHS: With West Catholic closing after this school year, how are you navigating your next step in high school?
Williams: It's sad that my school and others in the area are closing. There will be a lot of talented players that have to find new schools and new teams after this year. But to get a positive out of it I have to see the side of all this that is helping prepare me for my college decision. It's like a smaller version of the college decision, with a lot of the same priorities being used. If I had to pick the two main factors for me right now, it would have to be the quality of the education at my next school and as a running back, of course, the offensive line on the team there. It's not something I was thinking about too much until lately because I had to focus on my team at West Catholic and my grades here, but I just want to find a place where I'm comfortable in the classroom and on a team that is in a position to win.
ESPNHS: You seem to have a lot of pride, like most guys from Philly, in your city and the brand of football that comes out of the area. Do you think the quality of the game from that side of the state deserves more props?
Williams: Football can be overlooked in Philly. Not just by basketball being a major sport around here, but also by Western Pennsylvania and the way people appreciate the game out there. But if you look at the past couple of years, this side of the state has had contenders in the state playoffs and even the championship games regularly, so it's also just a perception thing that the football in this area isn't as strong. It's definitely getting there. My school has shown well in the playoffs versus some teams across the state and just look at what Archbishop Wood and LaSalle have proven over the past few years.
School: West Catholic (Philadelphia)
Position: Running back
Movie: "Law Abiding Citizen"
TV Show: Anything on NFL Network
Song: "Who Gon Stop Me" by Jay-Z & Kanye West
Musical artist: Young Jeezy