|ESPN.com: Football||[Print without images]|
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Even though he has yet to make a decision in his college recruitment, Tim Williams has already learned a lesson or two about commitment.
The decision of where to attend college is a big one, even more so for the LSU Laboratory School defensive end, who is the No. 28 prospect in this year's ESPN 150 and fourth overall at his position.
The publicity surrounding Williams was highlighted Wednesday when the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game stopped by LSU Lab -- located on LSU's campus -- to present him with his jersey for this year's game.
"I'm just excited about going out there and being blessed to walk onto that field," Williams said. "Not too many kids go out there and play -- I'm one out of a million other kids that play football. So I just want to go out and experience that and have fun before I go to college."
|Tim Williams is the nation's No. 28 recruit and holds offers from Alabama and Florida, among others.|
Williams joined the ranks of this year's Under Armour roster alongside his family, which offered some perspective on the decision before him. It's common practice to see mothers, brothers, grandparents and the like come out to support their All-Americans.
But two of the most important eyes watching Williams accept his jersey were those of his 1-year-old daughter, Chantiss, who is sure to give her father even more to think about this football season.
"It has helped him step into a whole other role, because he's realized he had to think of something other than himself," said Williams' mother, Carolyn. "You want what's best and the best life for her, and he's very focused. He loves her to death."
The choice between Williams' five favorites -- Alabama, LSU, Florida, Florida State and Miami -- was tough enough when just factoring coaches, facilities and location. And Williams isn't taking the process lightly, as he hopes to take official visits to all five when his high school season concludes.
"I don't base my decision on whether they win or lose," he said. "My decision comes from how I feel with that program, how strong our bonds are and can that staff make me a better player and a better person."
It's not as common a dilemma to factor the rigors of fatherhood into the equation, but Carolyn said he is fortunate to have a strong family structure in place.
"We pitch in as a whole, and we have each other's backs when it comes to Chantiss," she said.
Conventional wisdom says Chantiss would make a compelling case for Williams to stay home and attend nearby LSU, but the 6-foot-4, 230-pound pass rusher said he's comfortable with any decision -- provided it's made for the right reasons.
"It won't affect my decision as long as I know what I'm up there doing," he said. "If I'm playing football, I'm playing football for her. If I'm in the classroom, I'm in the classroom for her, no matter where I go."
That responsibility is something his mother said has helped her son mature quickly. It was only in January that LSU offered Williams his first football scholarship, and everything else has come in a whirlwind of publicity.
"He's had to adjust to all the recruiters and the calls and everything, and it was stressing him out," Williams said. "But this is going to help him stay grounded and stay focused & he won't lose sight of his goals."
One goal is already accomplished, as Tim said he's wanted to be an Under Armour All-American since watching Julio Jones play in the 2009 game. The next goals are big: first, a crack at the state championship, followed by a college decision -- one Williams said he might make for a national audience in Florida.
Regardless of how it all plays out, though, Williams said he won't lose sight of the main goal -- his daughter.
"I know I have a strong family who will support me through whatever -- whether I decide to go out of state or stay home," he said. "I just want to work hard for her, because I know I'm not living for myself -- I'm living for her now."