Karlos Williams makes big impact

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- As Davenport (Fla.) Ridge Community LB Karlos Williams started his senior campaign with a pick six in the Gridiron Kings championship game, it appeared only fitting that the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder would end his senior campaign the same way.

Williams brought the first shock of energy to the Tropicana Field with a bone-jarring hit on A.C. Leonard (Jacksonville, Fla./University Christian) and had a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter.

The FSU commit did not, however, flip in the end zone this time like he did in the summer.

"Nah, man, I was too tired to flip and I can't do that in full pads anyway," Williams said. "I was just happy to make it to the end zone."

Williams finished the game with two tackles and a pass breakup, but all anyone wanted to talk about was his hit on Leonard.

"Really, I give all my credit to the coverage on both plays," Williams said. "The coverages gave me the opportunity to make something happen."

The irony of the hit was that Williams, the future Seminole, took down Leonard, who is committed to Florida. Could it be a sign of things to come?

"I'm always going to seize the opportunity," Williams said. "Whether it's in high school, college, wherever, when you come my direction, I'm going to try to make something happen.

"There's always opportunity in everything. I saw him, I laid the wood on him and he went to the sidelines looking for his mouthpiece. That's how that goes."

There were times when Williams wasn't on the field. One of those came in the third quarter when Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty) took off for a 63-yard touchdown run.

"That's whatever, he knew I wasn't on the field," Williams said. "He ran my way and I caught him. He didn't do it again.

"Seriously, though, Jeff is a very talented player and he's like all the guys here. Everyone here deserved to be here and we all came to play. I'm honored to be here with them."

Williams' touchdown gave the White team a 9-7 lead. Eventually, they would regain the lead at 22-21, but with the Red team attempting a game-winning field goal Williams was back on the field.

The attempt to block the kick was successful but there was a penalty. The second try by Taylor Bertolet was good.

"I hate to lose anything, especially like that," Williams said. "Everyone saw us block the field goal. The people were happy. Let the people decide. We could go again right now. Seriously, get everyone off the field and let's ball. We don't even need pads, we could just play seven-on-seven."

And so goes the story with Williams. He is the perfect mix of athletic ability and bravado. The type of guy who will tell you how good he is and then prove it.

He had been making things happen all week and many of the assistant coaches working the game expected big things from him.

"Karlos Williams is just a special type of player," said Joey McGuire, an assistant coach for the white team and the coach at Cedar Hills, Texas. "He is such a physical presence in the backfield and he's got everything you'd want in a player. The size, the strength, the quickness and the instincts. He's a football player."

Williams is already a fan favorite in Tallahassee. He says he's received mail in the past from FSU fans asking him to sign things, and he is a constant trending topic on the FSU message boards.

He has not let his early celebrity status go to his head.

"I understand it's hard work," Williams said. "I have to earn the respect of my teammates and coaches. A lot of fans always say how much they can't wait to see me but I like to say that I can't wait to see them in the stands cheering on my team and supporting us."

Williams says he's solid in his commitment to Florida State and often jokes about it with his longtime friend Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, an Alabama commit. Both have jokingly said that the coaches at the other's school didn't recruit them hard enough.

With his high school career in the rearview mirror Williams looks to the future and enjoys the possibilities.

"I had a great time with these guys and I thought we all bonded," Williams said. "This was the greatest experience of my high school football career.

"With the exception of homecoming ... because we were balling at homecoming."

Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at coreyespn@gmail.com.