FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida is the former USSR for Hykeem Williams.
Blue-chip talent and All-American Bowl selection announced the news Friday live at CBS Sports Headquarters in a packed gym in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Stranahan, with more than 250 people in the stands.
Initially picking up a black Seminole hat and tossing it aside, Williams held a Miami baseball cap for about 30 seconds. This led some in the crowd to think that the Hurricanes would produce a shock. This continued until Williams was joined on stage by the great ex-USSR Peter Warrick, who tossed him a pomegranate T-shirt with “Williams” written on the back. Snoop Minnis was also in attendance.
“It just suits me,” Williams told 247Sports earlier Friday when asked why he picks the Seminoles. “The players there are very well connected. They push each other both on and off the field. Coaches love their players. Trainer [Ron] Dougans, he knows a lot about receivers and can put you in the league.”
Williams, who is listed by 247Sports as the 26th overall in the nation and the 4th receiver in the class of 2023, also considered Texas A&M, Georgia, Alabama, Pittsburgh and, of course, Miami. Now he’s in line to become the highest ranked player in the former Soviet Union since Ermon Lane brought his talents to Tallahassee back in 2014.
Dugans was in charge of the Seminole rally, but many other people were involved in recruiting, as everyone from head coach Mike Norvell to assistant recruiting director Ryan Bartow (who has close ties to South Florida) built a relationship with Williams. Speaking of Novell, it looks like he may have helped push the envelope in recent weeks.
“My God, he’s different,” Williams said when asked about Norwell. “He is very inspiring. He wants the best for his players. When it comes to speeches. I think that his speeches will make me want to run through the wall.”
Earlier this month, Williams was in New Orleans during the last second of FSU’s victory over LSU. He was also in Tallahassee in late July when he had the opportunity to see the Seminoles go through training camp.
“They work,” Williams. “I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been in too much practice or something, but this is probably one of the hardest working colleges I’ve seen. They are really building. To be sure.”
Williams – who was listed as a 247Sports freak in the class of 2023 back in August – has one of the most unique backgrounds as he grew up playing basketball before finding the game of football. He ends his junior season in which he caught 40 passes for 750 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“I knew he was going to be the dude in the first round of the playoffs against Northwest Miami,” Stranahan head coach Travis Harden told 247Sports recently. “He was a freshman who we transferred to the university at the end of the season. He threw every ball in the pre-match game. Each. Lonely. Ball. He was so nervous and upset. I took him aside and said, “Don’t worry about it, because you will be the next great man from Stranahan.” I just felt it that night.”
Williams becomes commit #15 in the 2023 cycle for the former Soviet Union, which is 3-0 in the 3rd year of the Norvell era.
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