Vols Offer Nephew of Former NFL Running Back

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    (Photo via Highlands News-Sun)

    Earlier this week, Tennessee’s coaching staff extended a scholarship offer to the son of NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders in the 2019 class. Then on Thursday night, the Vols offered another 2019 prospect with family ties to a former NFL great.

    DJ Williams, a running back who plays for Sebring High School in Sebring, Florida, picked up an offer from the Vols on Thursday night. He’s the nephew of former 11-year NFL running back and former Miami Hurricane Edgerrin James.

    Williams committed to Appalachian State back in July of this year, but he’s put together a strong senior season and has started to draw a lot of attention. Not only did he get an offer from UT, but Auburn and Colorado State sent him offers on Thursday as well. Some in-state schools like Miami are starting to show him some interest too. He’s also added offers from Wake Forest and UMass among others during his senior season.

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    Right now, Williams is just a two-star according to the 247Sports Composite rankings and is barely a three-star by their regular rankings. He’s outside the top-2000 overall prospects in the 2019 class, but he’s due for a big bump in his rankings after his senior year.

    His uncle, Edgerrin James, was a standout at Miami who totaled over 3,500 yards of offense in three years with the Hurricanes and got drafted with the fourth overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts. He played 11 years in the NFL and gained at least 1,000 yards rushing in seven of those 11 seasons and finished his career with 12,246 yards and 80 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 433 passes for 3,364 yards and 11 scores.

    In high school, Williams didn’t get to play much until his senior year, but he’s flourished now that he’s been given time to play. He’s the best athlete on his team, so he’s been playing quarterback for most of the season for Sebring. But even playing out of position, he’s shown some incredible play-making ability.

    Williams has great burst and isn’t easy to bring down. He sheds tackles with ease, and he’s just as elusive as he is tough. He looks bigger than his listed 5-foot-11, 210 pounds on recruiting services, but he glides down the field with some good speed. He possesses solid vision and can read defenders well. It remains to be seen how he does in blocking, and that’s always one of the biggest deterrents to younger backs seeing the field early. But it’s clear that he’s an exceptional runner.

    During his senior season, he’s helped Sebring get into the playoffs and totaled 1,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in the regular season. He’s averaged over 11 yards per carry this season.

    Tennessee doesn’t have a true running back committed to them in their 2019 class, though it’s believed three-star athlete Aaron Beasley will be tried out at both running back and defensive back. But the Vols are pursuing several running backs in this class, most notably four-star Michigan commit Eric Gray. Williams already has an official visit planned for Auburn next weekend, and he’s planning on enrolling early at whatever school he signs with.

    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.