Tyler Williams-Georgia recruiting-UGA recruiting
4-star All-American WR Tyler Williams has UGA among his final schools. He'd be a big get for the 'Dawgs in the 2023 class. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)

Tyler Williams: Elite WR target makes his decision tonight with major repercussions for 2023 recruiting class

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep has the latest with tonight’s news coming from 4-star Tyler Williams. He ranks as the nation’s No. 20 WR and the No. 129 overall prospect for 2023 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. He’s the No. 7 prospect at receiver and No. 54 overall for On3Sports.com. Rivals views him as the nation’s No. 31 WR and No. 207 overall recruit.

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LAKELAND, Fla. - The recruiting focus on DawgNation will be on Lakeland tonight. With the state of Florida readying and retreating from a Hurricane, the big story will be if the ‘Dawgs can hold off the Miami Hurricanes.

That looks to be the two teams most closely connected with the decision of 4-star Tyler Williams tonight. Williams just took his second unofficial visit in the last few weeks to Miami over the weekend.

DawgNation will be on hand at the decision ceremony tonight for Williams. We will stream it across all our regular social channels.

His Lakeland High School team actually played last night in a soggy game that was delayed more than 90 minutes by rain and lightning.

The curtain finally went down on that game about 23 minutes before midnight. His decision is scheduled for approximately 7 p.m. tonight in front of family, friends and his Lakeland football community.

Getting the chance to see Williams up close was necessary. In short, he’s got a little piece of his game that will remind some Georgia football fans of the last names they all know: Brown. Green. Pickens. Mitchell.

The one thing to learn that stunned an observer was that the nation’s No. 20 WR prospect actually is the holder for his high school team. That’s night. He’s the man catching the ball, putting it down and spinning the laces for his loaded team on extra points.

It leaves one to wonder what the young man can’t do. He already returns kickoffs and punts for his team. He was a third-string QB last spring. That’s even though he said he could spin it 70 yards.

He didn’t get any playing time in the spring game before his junior year. His meteoric rise as a receiver happened after an August switch to receiver.

He caught five touchdowns in his first-ever game at that spot and three of those counted. He was invited to play in the Under Armour All-American Game just a few months later. He’s now committed to that All-American game. That’s quite the story.

His high school team is named Dreadnaughts of all names. That’s a new one.

A Dreadnaught was the predominant battleship of the 20th century for the U.S. Navy. That is a parallel to Williams and his skill set on his 6-foot-3 frame and 200 well-carried pounds.

Williams looks like the prototype receiver prospect for this day and age of college football.

He’s got the speed, the length, the ball skills and the physicality that befits a future No. 1 receiver in the ACC or even the mighty SEC, too.

Williams has been rated as the top remaining target for the Bulldogs in the 2023 class for the last six weeks or so. The Bulldogs have seen prioritized targets like Anthony Evans III (Oklahoma) and Hykeem Williams (FSU) chose other schools over the last few weeks.

Williams is the only prospect rated among the nation’s top 20 wide receivers that has yet to make his college decision. He’s the last remaining undecided target out there. We can also quickly chart that 44 of the nation’s top 50 wide receiver prospects have also all made their college commitments already.

The talented young man making his decision tonight is the only one among those six that is strongly considering Georgia at this time.

That is what makes the decision made by the young Dreadnaught all the more vital tonight. The ‘Dawgs looked lean on playmakers at receiver in their last game with Kent State. With a talent like Ladd McConkey off on a rare Saturday and then A.D. Mitchell out, the Georgia passing attack doesn’t have a lot of plug-in playmakers at this time.

He caught 21 passes for 611 yards as a first-year wideout a year ago. That was good for a 29.3 average per catch for 11 touchdowns. Williams had close to 100 yards and a 9-yard touchdown catch on Monday night in a runaway 47-17 win against rival Lake Gibson.

4-star All-American WR Tyler Williams has UGA among his final schools. He'd be a big get for the 'Dawgs in the 2023 class. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)
Jeff Sentell, Dawgnation

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Tyler Williams: A few more things and one hopeful story to share

Here are a few rapid-fire things to know about Williams:

  • Miami has emerged of late as a serious contender. The recency of those two visits stands out, but he didn’t even have the Hurricanes among his last released top five which included Clemson, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas A&M.
  • Williams has targeted this night for some time. He scheduled tonight’s commitment date way back on July 1.
  • Lakeland boasts a powerful roster. There are 10 senior prospects alone that merit at least a 3-star ranking on the 247Sports Composite scale. That number will include commitments to Arkansas State, Auburn, Marshall, Pitt (2) and Toledo. That’s not counting Williams and one other 5-star name.
  • That 5-star would be Cormani McClain. McClain is long and aggressive. He’s ranked as the nation’s No. 1 CB and the No. 4 overall prospect in the country. There’s a lot of that familiar “iron sharpens iron” mantra working on this team, but especially between those good-on-good reps between McClain and Williams.
  • Lakeside actually was awarded the title of mythical national champions earlier this century in both 2005 and 2006. That’s to go along with eight Florida state championships. So they’ve got the program rolling, to say the least.
  • There’s another layer of uniqueness to this program that goes beyond a very rare triple-decker press box. That would be the many in-game traditions. First of all, their stadium has more artificial noise than any other high school venue I’ve ever been to. The Dreadnaughts have a replica boat in one of their end zones that fires its cannons off for touchdowns. That’s going to wake everyone up. There is also another air cannon that goes off basically whenever a big play is made. It is maybe not for every first down but it certainly felt like it. A first-time visitor will walk out of Bryant Stadium thinking they’ve heard more shots go off than a Civil War reenactment. Those sounds are everwhere and everpresent. They do not let up. Kind of like Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.
  • While that tradition is a shock to one’s ears, there’s another that will warm the heart. Lakeland briefly pauses the game at the end of every first quarter and the team walks over to its far end zone from the home crowd. That’s when they all wave high to the nearby Lakeland Children’s Hospital. I was told it has been a tradition for many years and certainly feels like what happens at Iowa football games just on a smaller scale.

We’ll park this decision preview story with a vignette that will surely read like fiction, but with a required disclaimer that every bit of it is true.

DawgNation flew into Tampa on Monday to make a few recruiting trips and to catch Williams in action. It wasn’t too far past noon when word leaked the Tampa airport was going to shut down on Tuesday afternoon for likely until the weekend. Hurricane Ira was coming.

The entire state was buzzing with news of a serious weather event. It rained all afternoon on the way from Tampa to Lakeland. That 7:30 kick was delayed and I didn’t leave the stadium until just after midnight.

While checking into the parking lot of a nearby hotel, I was approached by a friendly-yet-determined homeless man. He said “Memphis” was his name. The Alabama native was down on his luck. He was asking for help with the fee to get into a nearby homeless shelter.

Those necessary funds were supplied. Then he supplied me with a very wild story.

“Memphis” calmly stated homeless folks are the walking wise men of our world. He said if you want to know where the best places to eat in any town would be, then a homeless person would certainly know.

“We’ve tried and tried to try them all,” he said.

He knew what was good. What was awful and where there was some sweet tea that would make you want to slap your grandma because she never made it like that.

He then asked where I was from. When I said Georgia, he immediately started talking about Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs.

This 50-year-old man was down on his luck. He didn’t know much about the oncoming hurricane but knew about the current national champions. Maybe it was that Alabama blood and the love for college football.

“That Kirby Smart can really recruit,” Memphis said. “He certainly knows how to build a program. I knew he’d get things figured out up there.”

He then inadvertently asked out loud why the Miami Hurricanes can’t turn their team around like that.

When he said that, I had two hands full of luggage. Both of them almost hit the floor. Iwas so stunned at the irony of that moment.

“The Hurricanes were really something in the 90s and 20 years ago,” he said. “Why can’t they turn it around and get it back like that?”

When we went on our separate ways, I could only shake my head. I never told him I was in town to report on a player that seems very likely to decide between Georgia and Miami.

Was that fate? Or was that just the randomness of our world these days?

Or did “Memphis” know something the rest of college football does not yet? Does he have the intel on the Lakeland recruits and where to go eat?

We’ll all find out at 7:07 p.m. or so tonight.

4-star All-American WR Tyler Williams has UGA among his final schools. He'd be a big get for the 'Dawgs in the 2023 class. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)
Jeff Sentell, Dawgnation

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