Notre Dame lands second RB for 2015 class in Dexter Williams

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

The urge to stay closer to home tugged at Dexter Williams even after he thought he made up his mind.

A mid-January official visit to Notre Dame followed by an in-home visit with head coach Brian Kelly had Williams feeling Irish. But the University of Miami continued to press for the four-star running back from Orlando, Fla.

He wiped away any last thoughts of staying in his home state on Wednesday when he signed a National Letter of Intent with Notre Dame.

“I kind of knew a couple of weeks before signing day, but I really wasn't sure because I wanted to stay home,” Williams said. “At the same time, I knew I needed to leave home because Notre Dame is the right place for me. I had this feeling in my gut that Notre Dame was the right place.”

The recruitment proved to be a match. Running backs coach Tony Alford had been in search of a second back to join Josh Adams in the 2015 recruiting class. He was able to land his duo on signing day.

Williams, a 6-foot, 195-pound prospect, rushed 124 times for 871 yards and 10 touchdowns in his senior season at Winter Garden (Fla.) West Orange. He has consistently recorded 40-yard dash times in the 4.5-second range. Rivals ranks Williams as the No. 12 running back nationally in the 2015 class. 247Sports slates him No. 14 at the position.

“We felt like Dexter gave us that breakaway back that we wanted,” Kelly said on Wednesday. “His second-level speed, his quickness into the hole and then acceleration were the things that separated him from the other backs that we recruited.”

Williams and Adams, who rushed for 1,618 yards and 27 touchdowns against weaker competition as a senior, will join juniors-to-be Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant as a foursome in the backfield next season.

It should be an impressive stable for Alford, who spent a lot of time recruiting Williams while he was still committed to Miami before he parted ways with the Hurricanes on Jan. 2.

"He played a big role,” Williams said. “It wasn't just about football with him. We would talk about life, his kids. He knows my mom and dad. I know his wife and kids. We just created a relationship from there. I know that I can put my trust in coach Alford.”

Wiliams also seriously considered Louisville and passed on an official visit to Texas A&M the week after his trip to South Bend. It was on his official visit that Williams encountered snow for the first time.

The weather will be considerably better when he arrives on campus for his freshman year in June.

“My family is happy. I'm happy. The coaches are happy,” Williams said. “I know this is just the next step in my life. It's all about business now and doing what I gotta do to get to the next level."

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Running back Dexter Williams is one of the top targets Notre Dame hopes to land on signing day. (Courtesy of Orlando Sentinel)