When it comes to the running back position, Michigan State has done well in terms of recruiting under-the-radar halfbacks who have gone on to have tremendous college careers.
Before Le’Veon Bell’s rise to possibly the best back in the NFL, he was a lightly-recruited 2-star back out of the state of Ohio who exceeded everyone’s expectations. Jeremy Langford came to East Lansing in 2010 as a 3-star recruit on the heels of Bell and was originally a defensive back before shifting to running back and quietly having one of the better two-year runs in Michigan State football history. His 2,967 rushing yards (No. 8) and 40 touchdowns (No. 2) are among the top ten in the school’s rich history at the halfback position.
The Spartans have added two running backs for its 2019 class with Brandon Wright and the focus of our recruit spotlight this week, 3-star Anthony “Ant” Williams Jr.
Williams is a 6-1 and 191-pound prospect out of Bolingbrook (Ill.) High School near Chicago. According to 247Sports composite rankings, he is the No. 50 ranked running back in the nation and the No. 11 prospect out of the state of Illinois in this year’s class.
It's been a long & interesting journey…@DantonioMark @CoachWarnerMSU @CoachRonBurton @EDGYTIM @AllenTrieu @HEROH_ @EFTfootball #GoGreen pic.twitter.com/1YvSI1CTCO
— Ant Williams Jr. 🏈⚡ (@antwilliamsjr34) June 29, 2018
What sets Williams apart from other backs is his versatility.
“I’m an all-purpose back who can do it all,” said Williams. “I can block, catch out of the backfield and run in between the tackles.”
Williams last came to East Lansing during an unofficial visit in July 2017 and also attended a Michigan State camp in June 2017. However, he has become very comfortable with the coaching staff and the campus over the last few years.
“I’ve been going up to MSU since I was a freshman and every time it was a great experience”
While he was here, “[t]he campus itself, the weight room and the players” stood out to him and influenced his decision.
The Spartans are returning four of five starters upon the offensive line this season and barring any unforeseen changes will bring back four starters in 2019 as well as adding 5-star offensive tackle Devontae Dobbs (Belleville, Mich.) and 3-star offensive tackle Spencer Brown (Walled Lake, Mich.). This was something that intrigued Williams about Michigan State when he was contemplating where he would play his college ball.
“They usually have a very good offensive line with nice size and strength,” said Williams. With them blocking and opening up holes I’ll be able to make plays.”
Add Williams to the mix of what should be a very interesting backfield in 2019 for Michigan State. With L.J. Scott entering his final season for the Spartans in 2018, the competition for carries will be wide-open. I for one would not be surprised if this versatile back makes a name for himself as a freshman next season.
Quick Q & A
Current NFL running back you most play like? Todd Gurley
Favorite professional athlete? LeBron James
Favorite professional sports team? New York Giants
Go-to pre-game snack? Skittles
Favorite musical artist? Drake
Favorite movie/TV show? Friday After Next