Tour of Champions: Williams thankful Venables believed in him

Tour of Champions: Williams thankful Venables believed in him

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Tour of Champions: Williams thankful Venables believed in him

Greg Williams was an under-the-radar recruit, with only a single Power Five offer from Missouri, when he visited Clemson to compete at the Dabo Swinney Camp back on June 6.

Now a Clemson commitment, the Swansea (S.C.) linebacker is much more well-known.

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables recognized his potential at the camp and extended a scholarship offer to him a couple of days later. Less than two weeks after that, Williams committed to the Tigers.

“It means a lot that he saw that,” Williams said of Venables on Thursday during TCI’s Tour of Champions visit to Swansea High School. “I went to some camps… Coaches liked me for my speed, but they weren’t like how coach Venables was. He always talked to me, saying that I’ve got the best days of football ahead of me, I just need little tweaks. And that means a lot to me because going to camps and everything, and for him to realize that…

“Then once he realized that and they offered me, a lot of schools were coming and people realized that I’m kind of an under-the-radar target. So, it meant a lot getting it from him.”

Before Clemson offered, Williams (6-4, 235) had the power conference offer from Missouri to go with offers from the likes of Coastal Carolina, Georgia State, East Carolina, Central Florida and Marshall.

Looking back, Williams is really glad his coaches at Swansea prodded him to participate in Clemson’s camp and show he’s a better player than his offer sheet suggested.

“I thank my coaches — coach (Greg) Wright and all them — they kind of pushed me to go to it,” Williams said. “I went there, and my goal was to just show out so I could get a good look. When I was in the drills and everything, I could realize coach Venables had liked me because he was putting me in back-to-back and all that. I just had to go and compete and show him that I was one of the best.”

Following the camp, Venables worked to get Williams back on campus for an unofficial visit, and Williams returned with his father on June 14. The visit helped the Tigers seal the deal, as Williams pledged to Clemson exactly one week later.

“He was texting me trying to get me to come back up so I could see Clemson behind football,” Williams said of Venables. “When we went back, the orange carpet, they rolled it out. They showed me everything behind football.”

Williams was one of the leading tacklers in the Midlands last season when he tallied 103 stops. Heading into his senior season, he is looking to beat that mark.

“I always like to have a goal set and I always try to beat that goal, so my goal is I’m going to try to have more tackles, and play in some all-star games for the state,” he said.

Williams is happy that his talents have helped put Swansea more on the map.

“Growing up in Swansea, it’s not a big town and a lot of people don’t know about the athletes we have down here,” he said. “It’s great that once I go to a camp and show coach Venables — the best defensive coordinator in the country — realized how good I am. For the attention to come down here, it’s a lot, and it’s great.”

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