Tennessee picked up a talented prospect for its 2015 recruiting class on Saturday, when wide receiver Preston Williams made a verbal pact with the program, per 247Sports. The Volunteers, who currently have the nation's No. 3 2014 recruiting class in 247Sports composite rankings, now hold commitments from six highly valued junior targets.
Williams hails from Hampton, Ga., where he stars for Lovejoy High School. He hauled in a game-winning 27-yard touchdown strike on Friday evening, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, before traveling to Neyland Stadium in Knoxville to see Tennessee host SEC rival Florida on Saturday afternoon.
The 6'4", 185-pound playmaker notified Tennessee coaches of his intentions prior to the game, which was won by the Gators. He selected the Volunteers from an impressive assortment of programs.
Williams also fielded scholarship offers from Florida State, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama and Ohio State, among others, according to 247Sports. He is listed as the country's 26th-best wide receiver prospect in 247Sports composite rankings.
Tennessee landed at the top of his list due in large part to the fact that he foresees early action.
"I feel like I can make a name for myself my freshman year," Williams told Scout.com (subscription required) Tennessee reporter Danny Parker.
The big-bodied receiver is certainly a mature athlete from a physical standpoint. His route running remains a work in progress, but it's clear the Volunteers can use an infusion of talent on offense and he fits the bill.
Through four games this season, no Tennessee player has more than 12 receptions and only two players have caught more than six passes. The team completed just 14 passes in the 31-17 loss to Florida that Williams attended.
"I think they can use me," Williams told Scout.com.
The Volunteers haven't been shy about implementing inexperienced players in the offensive attack.
Sophomore Alton Howard, who has two touchdown receptions this fall, caught 13 passes as a freshman. Current first-year players Josh Smith and Marquez North have combined for 18 receptions so far in their short careers
Williams' skill set is comparable to North, a 6'4", 215-pound Charlotte, N.C., product who currently leads the team in catches.
The Volunteers' 2014 recruiting class features 4-star wide receivers Eric Lauderdale (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and Dominique Booth (Indianapolis, Ind.). Williams is the first pass-target prospect to join the 2015 class.
What are your expectations for new Tennesse commit Preston Williams (2015 WR)?
Tennessee lands a receiver capable of commanding double-team defensive coverage on crossing routes. He is an elite weapon in the red zone, where he maneuvers well enough to gain position and lets his long frame create a clear target.
Williams displays outstanding leaping ability. He's quick, but doesn't possess the level of speed needed to beat elite SEC defensive backs on vertical routes.
He figures to enter the mix for considerable playing time in the receiver rotation when fall 2015 rolls around. Although the Volunteers will already have a stable of young receivers, time will tell how many have established themselves as threats to start.
Now that Tennessee claimed his commitment, he plans to attend a pair of home games in October (versus Georgia and South Carolina), per Scout.com. The Volunteers hope he can provide an offensive weapon that is much needed in order for the program to ascend in SEC standings.