When Devin Williams made the jump from JV ball to varsity ball at Buford High, he was just a rising freshman. But he watched the older guys on the team, guys like Ryland Gandy specifically.
“When I first got to high school, I always looked to him, he was the starter, he was the reliable corner, and I just wanted to turn into that reliable corner when I got older,” Williams told PSN. “I just learned off of him freshman year and kept building my game, so he’s kinda been a role model for me.”
Williams — a 5-foot-11, 170-pound four-star cornerback in the Class of 2025 from Buford High in Buford, Ga. — has grown into a very highly regarded cornerback in his own right, and he now has the chance to potentially play with Gandy again.
After a standout performance at Georgia’s Kirby Smart 7-on-7 event Thursday, Pitt’s coaching staff — head coach Pat Narduzzi and secondary coach Archie Collins — extended him his latest offer.
I’m blessed and honored to say that I have received a(n) offer from The University of Pittsburgh!! #H2P @CoachDuzzPittFB @Coach_Davis22 @dsnell31 @JeremyO_Johnson @lukewinstel @RecruitGeorgia @RWrightRivals @BufordGAPrspcts @ChadSimmons_ @MohrRecruiting @adamgorney @Andrew_Ivins pic.twitter.com/aZwIhcQAx6
— Devin Williams (@DevinWilliams21) June 16, 2023
Pitt joined a long, long list of schools to have offered Williams, including Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Cincinnati, Colorado, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, UCF, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia. So… no small list.
It was Archie Collins who was watching Williams Thursday, seeing firsthand how smoothly Williams operates offensively and defensively.
“He was watching me do the drills,” Williams said. “He said I looked really smooth, getting in and out of my breaks, calm and controlled. He said I looked like the best kid out there doing the drills, so that really stuck with me.”
So, with that offer from Pitt, Williams posted it on Twitter. And one of the first people to reach out and congratulate him was Gandy — who is entering his second year in Pittsburgh as a cornerback himself.
That level of familiarity with a former teammate, and role model, already has Pitt in higher standing than other teams pursuing him. The offer, of course, felt good.
“I have a fellow teammate at Pitt actually, so he actually congratulated me on that,” Williams said. “It definitely feels good to get the Pitt offer, it feels like it’s just the next step. I’m definitely gonna try to get out there.”
The communication recently with Gandy has largely been online, but the communication with the coaching staff last week was in-person. And Collins was able to see Williams’ ability with his own eyes. Clearly he liked it.
“Everybody says (I’ve got) speed, I’m a very speedy player, but also I feel like I have elite coverage skills,” Williams said. “I can come down and make a tackle, I feel like I have a lot of physicality, but I feel like I’m elite in man-to-man.”
As a junior at Buford last season, aside from running a 10.65 100-yard dash in track, he racked up two receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown and was a key contributor in the secondary — earning MaxPreps second-team sophomore All-American honors.
247Sports rates Williams as the 59th-ranked cornerback in the Class of 2025 (fifth-ranked cornerback and 13th-ranked recruit from Georgia) while Rivals rates him as the 65th-ranked recruit in the class (eighth-ranked cornerback and 11th-ranked recruit from Georgia).
On3 rates him as the 60th-ranked recruit in the class (fifth-ranked cornerback and 12th-ranked recruit from Georgia).
Williams is an elite recruit, who has taken visits to Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State and Tennessee, and he will be very, very hard to recruit. He has visits scheduled for Notre Dame — who he said is recruiting him the hardest so far — and Michigan to finish off the month.
When it comes to Pitt, since his offer and relationship with the coaching staff is still so fresh, he’s mainly heard it all from Gandy.
“I have talked to Ryland a little bit about Pitt, he said he’s enjoyed being up there,” Williams said. “He said he feels really like part of a family up there, feels at home up there. So, I’m liking Pitt.”
Williams said he’s looking for a school where he feels comfortable, a second home of sorts, but also a school that gives him an opportunity to reach the field quickly.
It will be important for Pitt to land Williams on as many visits as possible going forward to progress the relationship.
Pitt does not currently hold a commitment in the class of 2025, but that could change at some point in the near future.