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Top-20 recruit Williams chooses Alabama for '18

Top-20 recruit Williams chooses Alabama for ’18

Jan 17, 2017

  • Gerry HamiltonESPN Staff Writer
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    • National recruiting analyst
    • More than a decade covering recruiting, nationally and in Texas

Alabama has gone into South Florida yet again for a top-ranked skill player.

Xavier Williams, the No. 18-ranked prospect in the class of 2018, committed to Alabama over Clemson and Miami on Tuesday night.

. . . . . . . . . 🐘 #RTR18pic.twitter.com/A4PKiX5vtt

— ZayBoogieWitDaHoodie (@zayborghini_6) January 17, 2017

Williams’ commitment marks the fourth time since the 2012 class that Nick Saban has gone into Dade or Broward County in South Florida and plucked an elite prospect who projects to play receiver, with Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley and Jerry Jeudy preceding Williams.

“I’m open to playing either side of the ball, but seeing those guys produce at receiver like they have makes me think I can go in and have similar success,” Williams said. “I’m going to be competing with the best players everyday in practice, and I’m just ready to work against the best.”

Williams, who is 6-foot and 180 pounds, called Alabama receivers coach Billy Napier to make his verbal commitment. He becomes the third ESPN Junior 300 commitment for the Crimson Tide, joining running back Dameon Pierce (No. 35) and tight end Malcolm Epps (No. 122).

The Crimson Tide are in pursuit of many of the nation’s top juniors, including No. 1 overall prospect Xavier Thomas, No. 4 Jackson Carman, No. 7 Patrick Surtain Jr., No. 11 Matthews Jones and No. 15 Taron Vincent. Defensive line is seen as a key position of need in the 2018 class for Alabama.

The Tide are also working to put the finishing touches on a jaw-dropping 10th straight top-three recruiting class with signing day Feb. 1. They currently hold the No. 1 spot with 18 ESPN 300 verbals, headlined by five-stars Najee Harris, Dylan Moses and Alex Leatherwood, who all have already enrolled for the spring semester.

In the past five classes, counting the current class, Alabama has signed or has commitments from 89 ESPN 300 prospects, including 12 five-stars. Class of 2014 five-stars Cameron Robinson and Marlon Humphrey recently announced their decisions to leave early for the NFL and are projected first-round selections.

Williams has also committed to play in the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game following his senior season.

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