Blue-chip ATH Tony Williams stays in-state with UCF commitment

It was probably always going to come down to in-state programs for Wellington (Fla.) Palm Beach Central star Tony Williams, so he took a drive up the Florida Turnpike on Friday to settle his recruitment.

After getting back to campus for a spring practice, the four-star let Gus Malzahn and his staff know he wanted to commit to UCF.

"I'll be going to UCF," Williams told Rivals. "I wanted to do it man-to-man, to see how they would react. It was important for me."

The Knights have hosted the new commitment many times, but it was on his second trip to Orlando where the junior began to envision himself there for his college years.

"I realized it was a great place to be," Williams said. "I like the coaches, I like how they talk to me. Sometimes it's not even about football, it's about life, they just keep it real with me.

"I built up a great connection with coach AD (Addison Williams) and coach (Trovon) Reed and coach Gus also. And they're building something real good over there, just jumping into the Big 12."


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Williams collected more than two-dozen scholarship offers throughout the process, and the goal was always to play on a large stage. With UCF now in the Power Four with a national schedule, the path to winning a recruitment like this opened up even more.

"It was real big," he admitted. "And the Big 12 is a very big passing conference, so I'm gonna get a lot of action when I'm out there. Right now they want to start me at corner, but they think gradually I'll end up at safety.

"I feel like I can get the job done everywhere. I can lock down a certain receiver at cornerback or be all over the field at safety -- ballhawk, downhill, all of that."

The UCF pick also allows for a chance for Williams to profile as one of the initial blue-chip recruits on the roster during its Big 12 immersion.

"I want to make my name, I want to start a legacy at UCF," he said. "It's the place where I can shine brightest.

"I'm going to be the turn-up man on the field. I'm from south Florida, so I'm going to bring that energy and all that big talk...and I'm gonna back it up."

Williams, who has eight interceptions to his name over the last two seasons, says Floorida State was the runner up in his recruitment.