Mario Williams: Going deep with the nation’s No. 4 WR on what really matters
Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry goes deep with elite WR target Mario Williams. What about that other sport? What drives him? How was Georgia able to reshuffle his top 5?
Mario Williams can go deep. Way deeper than any pass route.
The nation’s No. 4 WR and No. 40 overall prospect (247Sports Composite rankings) now has a strong interest in Georgia. It has developed quickly since naming a top 5 in December.
— Lootrunner.mariooo (@MarioWill00) December 9, 2019
That top 5 has a new entry of the red and black variety. To put it simply. But things with Williams can go deeper than that.
There’s the notion he played on a state baseball championship team last year. The Plant City (Plant, Fla.) standout aims to pursue that dual-sport passion in college, too.
Georgia values his role as a future playmaker.
“They tell me that I am dynamic and they love the way I catch the ball,” he said. “They say that it looks like every time I touch the ball that I am looking to score.”
There’s also what Todd Monken has told the 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior he can do in the Georgia offense.
“He said he’s ready to throw the ball to me,” Mario Williams said.
That view will now parallel what he has been hearing for awhile from 5-star Georgia QB commit Brock Vandagriff, too. Vandagriff wanted him to make plays for him when he was an Oklahoma commit.
“He just tells me that I am special and that he would love to play with me,” Williams said of Vandagriff. “He said I am the type of receiver that he is looking to play with.”
Williams is known among his circle as “The Lootrunner.” Watch his game tape a little later below. It fits.
“Just chasing money really,” he said when asked to explain that connection.
But those are just the hitch routes of his story.
Mario Williams: What powers him in life and on the field
When Williams gets ready for any big game, he will think of his lost friend Jephte Germain Rogers. He write either his name or the phrase LLJ3 on his shoes. Rogers was struck by a car three years ago and he did not survive.
“J3” was just 18 years old. He wore No. 3.
“Everything I do is for him,” Williams said.
When you check his phone, that memory will be his lock screen. Those two grew up playing together in the apartments they lived in.
“He was my friend,” Williams said. “But I call him my brother.”
If that wasn’t enough to answer just what burns within him to be great, he also wants to live a life that inspires his younger brother.
The dual-sport athlete cites dual inspirations.
“I want to see how far I want to take myself and see my brother follow in my footsteps,” Williams said. “I want to help make my whole family live a better life.”
His younger brother’s name is Sincere Williams. That seems appropriate here.
“Every little brother is going to look up to you, right?” he said. “You always have to set an example for your little and make sure he’s straight and make sure things go right for him. You basically set a goal for him to also do the same things as you and keep that happening and going on. That’s how it is supposed to work.”
Williams is 17. His younger brother, Sincere, is 15. He also plays football and will be another receiver.
“I think he’s already better than me at that age because as I get more experience, he gets more experience,” Mario Williams said. “I can help him now instead of him having to learn it as I did. What I learn now, I share with him. That’s basically helping him be a better football player now.”
Check out how dynamic he is along his junior film. It does seem like he tries to score every ball. He can make it happen all over the field. Not just as a primary slot receiver.
Mario Williams: The college fit he is looking for
Alabama was one of his most impressive visits, along with UGA. He still hopes to visit LSU and Oklahoma.
“I really liked Florida, too,” he said.
Williams currently plans to enroll early in January of 2021. He was raised to value academics.
“They really don’t even want Bs,” he said.
If he pulled a “C” in a class, he was likely not going to be able to play ball until he brought that grade up.
“I’ve been making all As and Bs all through high school and middle school so my grades are always up,” he said.
He cites the “Sluggo” as his favorite route. That slant-go hybrid is built off a double move that drops an early feint with a slant and then screams downfield to get behind the defense. It fits his skill set to a tee.
What does he do best?
“Just really getting in and out of breaks and stressing the route running and finding the end zone,” he said.
The best play on his tape is where he catches a short hitch and then has the jets to take it down the sideline for a touchdown.
He wants to win the one-on-one battle. That’s what he is built for.
“When you get to the next level everybody is elite but if you just win your one-on-ones with whatever route it is or whatever you are running if you can do that over and over, then that’s a plus. That’s a big plus. It is really just beating the guy that is in front of you.”
What is he looking for in his college choice? His answer there were to the point.
“Where can I play baseball?” he said. “Will they help me get to the next level? Do they have a quarterback? Do they throw the ball?”
The baseball stuff is not a dealbreaker to him. But it could be a certain enhancer.
“Technically yes,” he said. “But also no. If that school is the best place for me and it can help me get to the next level no matter if it is baseball or football or whatever then I would take it.”
He’s not sure which sport he likes better.
“It is the same,” he said. “I really like both of them. That’s why I am trying to play both in college.”
Williams hits from the right side and will play centerfield. He bats leadoff and punches the ball into the gaps and lets his legs fly around the bases. He loves stealing bases the way he talks up those hitch routes.
He can’t even determine whether it is more fun to catch a “9” route or take away a home run ball from over the fence.
“It is the same,” he said. “They are both the same. It is all doing something really good for your team.”
He’s discussed the matter with Kirby Smart at Georgia. It will not be a dealbreaker there. 2019 Redshirt freshman TE Ryland Goede is actually playing on the Georgia baseball team right now, too.
“Coach Kirby was telling me that they don’t have a problem with me playing both,” he said. “He said the next time I come up there they are going to have me talk to the baseball coach and stuff. I’m ready for that.”
Williams has been a shortstop and a catcher. He’s been a quarterback in Little League, too.
“I always love to play both at the same time,” he said. “After a football game, I want to play baseball. After a baseball game, I want to play football. When baseball ends I want to play both. I’m always ready to play both.”
He wears No. 2 in baseball. No. 4 for football. Plant City just won the school’s first state baseball title in 97 years last spring.
Mario Williams: How he feels about Georgia
There are reasons why Georgia is now sitting snug in that top 5. His recent “Junior Day” visit with Vandagriff and others certainly helped.
“Georgia is a great place,” he said. “Athens is like amazing. The culture. The fans. The coaching staff. The players. Everything is just real good about Georgia. I like it.”
“When I went there it just felt like home. They were talking to me about everything. Anything and everything. They were showing me everything. I got to talk to coach Kirby one-on-one. Coach Hankton one-on-one. Really everybody.”
“Right now to this day all the coaches text me. Even the O-line coach. He texts me. He just got there. The whole coaching staff texts me. Georgia is going to be a big priority for me in this recruiting.”
He doesn’t have a decision timeline in mind. The first step is to start taking his official visits. Georgia is going to get one of those. He already knows that.
Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma are also currently slated to get officials.
How did Georgia crack into his top group?
“It changed because when I went up there everything stayed the same,” he said. “They recruited me in my sophomore year and they were high in my recruiting.”
The Bulldogs did make the top 10 list he dropped in October of 2019.
“When I went up there everything was the same,” he said. “They want they had been texting me were the same way they presented themselves when I went up there. They were just being real.”
That was his only visit. He said “it changed when I got there and as soon as I got there” on that trip.
“It just felt like a special place,” Williams said. “They made it feel like that as soon as I got there.”
Georgia made itself a quick contender for his decision.
“I’ll be back up there for an official,”he said.
What does he like best about that potential fit in Athens?
“The coaching staff,” he said. “Their facilities and then how Georgia is just Georgia.”
Williams already knows 2020 Georgia signee Arian Smith. He also got to chat with highly-coveted OL Amarius Mims when they were in town for their “Junior Day” visits in mid-January.
“I like talking to Amarius,” Williams said. “Whenever we were up at Georgia we really talked about different things and schools and what he was thinking and what I was thinking. Brock [Vandagriff] he has been recruiting me since he was committed to Oklahoma. I’m one of his big recruits that he wants.”
Smart spoke to him after life after football.
“He was telling me what would happen for me after I leave the University of Georgia,” Mario Williams said. “He was telling me the stuff not what I wanted to hear but what I needed to hear. And not what everybody tells me.”