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Pitt FB Recruiting

2024 DL Santana Williams’ Ties to Jaylen Twyman, Isaiah Neal Loom Large Ahead of His Visit



It only made sense that Jaylen Twyman’s name arose as Isaiah Neal stood before the podium on the South Side for the first time earlier this month.

When Twyman came out of the DMV in the class of 2017, he was a top-ranked recruit in the area. It was the same scenario for Neal as he followed Twyman’s path six years later. So, of course, the pair talked. Neal picked his brain.

However, as Twyman’s name was mentioned earlier this month, Neal brought up Twyman’s younger brother Santana Williams first — one of his best friends growing up. He made sure to mention that Williams also holds an offer from Pitt.

Williams — a 6-foot-1, 290-pound defensive tackle from Charles Herbert Flowers High in Upper Marlboro, Maryland — picked up an offer from Pitt nearly two years ago, and he’s making it out to Pittsburgh on March 14.

Williams, who holds offers from Boston College, Charlotte, James Madison, Pitt, Temple, Toledo and South Florida, has been to Pitt’s campus four or five times now, growing up as the younger brother of a former All-American, but he’s excited to be able to come down and just check out how a practice runs at Pitt.

He’s been talking to defensive line coach Charlie Partridge a lot lately, touching on where the program is going, what’s going down at Pitt these days and where Williams would be able to fit in schematically.

Partridge is a big fan of Williams’ quick twitch, his get-off when rushing opposing quarterbacks and the ability to play with a level of explosiveness that leaves opposing offensive linemen in the dust.

Williams is eager to see how Pitt conducts a practice, watch how Partridge runs his defensive linemen, but he’d be lying if he said he didn’t want to watch Neal in action.

“I wanna see my guy Isaiah Neal,” Williams said. “I wanna see him get in some drills and get active, and I wanna come back down there and get to talk to coach Partridge and coach Narduzzi.” 

Neal and Williams have been training together since the eighth grade, working out together and hanging out together right after — when Neal was home, they spent every weekend together. “We really do everything together,” Williams said. “That’s my guy.”

But if there’s one thing they haven’t done together, it’s play together on the same defensive line on a field. Imagine the potential. 

“It means a lot to me, with the bond we’ve got, it would be great playing together,” Williams said. “We already have that tight bond, us on the same line, it’d be great.”

As a junior on a 13-1 Charles Herbert Flowers squad, Williams was a physical presence across the defensive line. He racked up 55 tackles, 35 tackles for loss and 11 sacks on the way to first-team All-County honors.

Williams isn’t yet rated by the major recruiting websites, but that will likely change as he goes through his spring and summer recruitment.

He has a busy spring set up already, planning visits to North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Cincinnati and possibly Miami and Liberty, but Pitt is firmly in the picture. He talks to his brother — and Neal since he’s arrived on campus — about Pitt all the time.

Pitt stands out from some of the other programs in his recruiting process in large part because of Partridge, the way he runs his defensive line and how he prepares ‘undersized’ defensive linemen for success, but it’s just a system that suits his style of play. Twyman and Calijah Kancey — and Neal — also play a factor.

“(Pitt) feels great,” Williams said. “Pitt, they’re definitely top of my recruitment. I love Pitt, for sure.”

Williams plans to commit on July 4, after he makes his official visits over the summer, so he’s getting closer and closer to his commitment by the day. He’ll be at Pitt at least two more times, once in March and once again in April for the spring game.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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