Notre Dame visit pushes Irish into top group for RB target Dexter Williams

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

An official visit to Notre Dame brought several firsts for Dexter Williams.

The four-star running back from Florida had never been to Notre Dame and had never seen snow. He accomplished both of those when he arrived on Friday. Then met some members of Notre Dame’s coaching staff and a handful of players for the first time over the weekend.

He left South Bend on Sunday with a full checklist and Notre Dame in serious contention for first-place in his recruitment.

“It was a great experience,” Williams said. “I saw a lot and learned a lot of history behind Notre Dame. I also got a chance to hang with the players and meet all the coaches. It was just a great vibe.”

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound prospect made the visit in large part due to his relationship with running backs coach Tony Alford, who continued to recruit Williams despite a previous verbal commitment to Miami. Conversations with Irish running backs Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston, both also Florida natives, helped reassure Williams.

“I know I can trust coach Alford on the field and off the field,” Williams said. “I realized that by hanging out with the players. All the players were telling me that coach Alford would take care of me. He's not just going to bring me up there and forget about me.”

Williams even had a chance to meet former Notre Dame running back Theo Riddick, who currently plays for the Detroit Lions. Riddick was also in town and spent some time talking with Williams about Notre Dame and his path to the NFL.

Meeting Riddick was one of a number of visit highlights for Williams.

“The campus is really nice,” Williams said. “Getting to see The Gug (Guglielmino Athletics Complex), it was really big. I didn't expect to see all that. Notre Dame is just really different from all the other schools.”

Williams, who has already made visits to Miami and Louisville, said Notre Dame felt like a place he could adjust to quickly.

"What I was used to is the city life. Notre Dame is something different,” Williams said. “The campus and everything had a different feel. It was a good different.”

Both Alford and head coach Brian Kelly are expected to visit Williams on Wednesday as the Irish staff tries to add a second running back commitment to the 2015 class. The addition of Williams, who rushed for 871 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior at Winter Garden (Fla.) West Orange, could wrap up Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts at the position. Rivals ranks Williams the No. 13 running back in the 2015 class. 247Sports slates him at No. 14.

A change in visit plans this coming weekend should help Notre Dame’s chances. Williams had planned to visit Texas A&M but said Monday night that he would be no longer making that visit. In the wake of Williams’ Notre Dame trip, it appears to be a three-team race to signing day on Feb. 4.

“This will probably be a signing day announcement,” Williams said. “I'm still deciding between my top three schools which are Louisville, Notre Dame and Miami." | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Running back recruit Dexter Williams is focusing on Notre Dame, Louisville and Miami. (Photo courtesy of Student Sports)