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2024 3-Star ATH Caleb Williams Enjoyed Learning Xs and Os With Archie Collins

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When Pitt played Eastern Michigan in the 2019 Quick Lane Bowl, Caleb Williams was there. It wasn’t a far drive from where he was growing up in Canton, Michigan.

He made it out to Ford Field in Detroit to watch Kenny Pickett lead Pitt to a 34-30 win.

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A lot has changed since then. Pickett is now the starting quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Williams — a 6-foot, 170-pound three-star athlete from Canton High in Canton, Michigan — is being recruited by the team he watched four years ago.

There are some schools recruiting Williams as a wide receiver and others pursuing him as a defensive back. He knows he wants to be a defensive back. Pitt sees Williams as a defensive back, too.

And Saturday’s Junior Day visit only further cemented the growing relationship between Williams and Pitt — especially with Pitt’s defensive backs coaches.

“The visit was actually really good,” Williams told PSN. “It was really cool how they had everything set up and everything.

“We got there, signed in and everything, we got to eat, and we did a facility tour, took some pictures, got to talk to some coaches. Went to the position meetings, broke down some film, talked some Xs and Os then broke out and watched the basketball game.”

But as a self-proclaimed Xs and Os kind of guy, getting the chance to sit down with secondary coach Archie Collins and actually dive into the scheme was what stood out.

“They go fast, everything is so fast, but they go in detail,” Williams said. “It’s definitely a ‘wow, college ball is different than high school,’ but I definitely think I can get a grasp of that.”

Williams has been able to build a bond with Collins during the recruiting process, since receiving an offer from Collins last February.

“(Collins is) a great coach, obviously sent a lot of guys to the league, coached a lot of good guys,” Williams said. “Pitt always has good DBs, whether that’s the safeties or corners. They’re on top of their stuff.”

Williams has watched Pitt play since the Quick Lane Bowl, and current Denver Bronco Damarri Mathis caught his eye during the 2021 season. As did Marquis Williams, Erick Hallett and Brandon Hill last season.

As he watched film with Collins, breaking down how Pitt’s defensive backs operate at the position and adding to his own repertoire, watching someone like Williams, he found himself even more intrigued.

“I really like their scheme,” Williams said. “Their scheme lets the DBs play aggressive, safeties and corners make plays. I definitely think I could see myself playing in that scheme and everything like that.

“I don’t really care either way (what I play), safety, corner. Corner, you’re checking the guy most of the game, you can really take somebody out of the game entirely if you play good coverage. Safety, you’re around the ball more.”

Williams was impactful as a junior at Canton, racking up 522 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns offensively and 32 tackles, five interceptions and five pass breakups defensively. And it’s his defensive work that has Pitt excited.

Some of the MAC schools interested in Williams have asked him if he’s interested in playing wide receiver, but the consensus at this point appears to be defensive back. He’s received offers from Central Michigan, Nebraska, Pitt and Tennessee — and interest from Cincinnati, Duke, Michigan and Michigan State.

He plans to hit up local schools like Michigan, Michigan State and Cincinnati this offseason, and maybe Tennessee again, but Pitt is also in the plans for spring ball.

247Sports rates Williams as the 690th-ranked recruit in the class (91st-ranked athlete and 19th-ranked recruit from Michigan) while Rivals rates him as the 20th-ranked recruit from Michigan — holding a 5.5 Rivals Rating.

Williams’ commitment is still a ways away, but Pitt has definitely worked itself into his contenders after a handful of good visits now.

“Pitt’s definitely pretty high,” Williams said. “I really like the program, the culture there is good, they have a great fanbase — that basketball game was insane. So, obviously, Pitt’s a good school, they’ve got a really nice campus, so Pitt is defiantly really high for me.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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