Pitt recruiting coverage on PSN is sponsored by Beaver County Auto. Stop in today for their $99 three oil change package special. This great deal is available at the locations in Monaca, Beaver Falls and Mars. Plus, the Beaver County Auto Mall has great prices right now on winter tires.
It’s no hidden secret that the state of Florida produces more P5 football talent than any other in the nation. Pat Narduzzi has placed a heavy emphasis on the Sunshine State. The staff’s efforts are led by ace recruiter assistant head coach / defensive line coach Charlie Partridge. Partridge was reviewing film on a raw, rangy, athletic prospect from Calvary Christian Academy and decided to that his potential was worth a scholarship. He offered a scholarship to Samuel Williams (6-foot-4 inches, 210 pounds) and he subsequently became the first player to join the Panthers’ 2020 recruiting class.
Williams had an outstanding senior season, but most Pitt fans know little about him. To gain perspective on him, Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with Calvary Christian Academy offensive coordinator / strength coach Jake Sorg.
“I got to Calvary in 2016 and that was Sam’s freshman year. I happened to be looking down the other end of the field and I saw this long legged, long armed, long limbed, big headed kid down there that interested me,” said Sorg. “I took over as offensive coordinator his sophomore year and I was like ‘All right, we must find a way to utilize this kid’s talents, his length and his size.’ I noticed right away how hard he worked. He never missed a workout.”
“I run our strength and conditioning program as well. I’ve had the privilege of being able to see him in the off season and his level of commitment and so forth. His ability to take coaching and apply it is better than most that I’ve coached. I’ve been coaching since 2005, strength coach since 202 and I’ve ben a head coach before. I was able to see many of the intangibles that he had right away was something that got us excited. We got him involved in the offense for two years. He played tight end for us exclusively as a sophomore. Last year he kind of morphed into reps more on the defensive side.”
Williams had an outstanding senior season and was a force to recon with on defense. He helped lead Calvary Christian Academy to an outstanding 10-2 record. Sam registered 63 total tackles, 20 tackles for a loss and six sacks on the season.
‼️Senior Highlights‼️ https://t.co/JV96FSYwl7
— Sam Williams (@SaWilliams_46) November 23, 2019
“His junior season, we didn’t play him as much on the defensive side of the ball. As the second half of the season rolled on, we couldn’t justify not having his size, length and athleticism on defense.,” said Sorg. “He pretty much played defensive end his junior year without a whole lot of coaching. That’s not an indictment on our coaching, he just didn’t get a whole lot of reps, because he was sharing both sides of the ball. He played a lot on instinct and so forth. For his senior season, we let him focus on the defensive side of the ball. He played some tight end for us in our heavy package and that was it. We pretty much exclusively put him in the defensive end and he’s still as green as the grass.”
Williams was one of three defensive ends that recently inked their national letters of intent. He joins Emmanuel Belgrave (6-foot-3 inches, 225 pounds) from Southridge High School in Miami, FL and Dayon Hayes (6-foot-3 inches, 250 pounds) from Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, PA.
“Sam’s upside is tremendous. I’m excited because I’ve been Pat Narduzzi fan for a long time. I was a defensive coordinator prior to being an offensive coordinator and we ran a similar system to what he was doing at Michigan State. I still believe in a lot of the things he was doing there,” said Sorg. “Coach Partridge and I had a little bit of a prior relationship. I was a head coach when he was the head coach at Florida Atlantic. It was a perfect match and he was able to show coach Narduzzi Sam’s film. I’ve always appreciated Coach Narduzzi’s ability to look at or project what a kid can be. That’s what we’re excited about. What Sam’s going to be. I mean, he’s so green. It’s not even funny and he’s just going to be, he’s going to be good. He’s going to be a good one.”
“Sam is a hair under 6-foot-4 inches tall. I think he weighs around 210 pounds. You look at the young man that went to Miami (FL), Cameron Williams from Chaminade Madonna. He was down here last year and he’s a little taller than Sam, but he went there and started as a true freshman at 252 pounds. I believe Sam’s as good as he is. I think he’s going to flourish once they get him in their program, guide him in the weight room and start working on his skill set. I recently told him, ‘You’re going to come back here over Christmas break next year after a bowl game and not even look the same. You’re going to be a grown man.’ I think he could easily be 240 pounds and not miss a beat with his exceptional speed.”
Williams has been ranked a three-star recruit by the major recruiting services. He chose Pitt over offers from Syracuse and South Florida. Coach Sorg indicated that a number of P5 programs inquired about William’s services during the season but he never entertained their overtures.
When studying Williams highlight reel, it’s hard to miss his primary asset: speed. He launches off the ball and utilizes his length to disrupt the pocket. Coach Sorg was asked about his speed and athleticism and he stated, “We spent a lot of time last off season working on getting off the ball and speed. My philosophy from a strength and conditioning standpoint, is we’re going to become fast and emphasize speed. We have an electrical timing system. Sam’s run a legitimate 4.64 laser. With his stride length, that’s a tremendous time. His ability to get off the ball is exceptional. He’s very, very explosive and he’s going to be a tough guy to block off the edge. Once he improves his technique and perfects what he’s trying to do, his craft off the edge, he’s going to be tough.”
Coach Sorg was asked about Sam’s demeanor off the field. He immediately stated, “I can’t say enough about his character. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t like him. I mean in terms of just his general demeanor and his general just likability. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t like him. He’s automatically going to walk in and earn respect, because he’s going to do whatever he’s asked to do. The upperclassmen at Pitt are going to love that. He’s not going to complain. He’s not going to say boo. And, he’s going to just do whatever he’s asked to do, and he’s going to do it as hard as he can.”
“Let me say this, Pat (Narduzzi) and Charlie (Partridge) and the entire staff at Pitt are first class. That’s one of the reason’s I’m fired up for Sam. They have been first class from the beginning to the end of the process. Pitt is a program doing it the right way. That’s greatly appreciated from a high school perspective. We know that we don’t have a thing to worry about once we send a player up there. We know he’s being taken care of, pushed, loved and given tough love when he needs it.”
Harry Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru