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May 27, 2012
Dallas Jackson is the National High School Sports Analyst for Rivals. Email him your questions and comments at DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
The first-ever Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge will be held June 22-24 at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta, and it will showcase 100 of the best athletes from across the country. The invitation-only event will play host to 80 highly ranked players from the Class of 2013 and 20 rising stars in the Class of 2014.
Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra outside linebacker Dwight Williams never had a doubt that he would be one of those 20 to represent the underclassmen.
"I wasn't surprised to get an invitation," he said. "I kind of knew all along I would get invited. When I got the MVP award at Nike camp and then had a good camp at IMG, I knew it was coming."
Sure enough, Williams was right and the invite followed early the next week after the IMG West Regional. While he wasn't surprised he was certainly excited.
"It is awesome that this happened," he said. "I can go down South and showcase my talents and really see where I will rank. It will be a good place to challenge myself.
"It will also really help me get more exposure."
Currently the 6-foot-1, 197 pound player has a lone offer from Colorado but is confident that list will grow exponentially.
"The offers will take care of themselves," he said. "I am very confident in what I can do on the field and so I am not worried that I only have one right now."
He is also confident in his game. Williams said that while he needs to get bigger and stronger and faster like most high school players, the strengths in his game outweigh those deficiencies.
"I am a linebacker that can cover like a corner," he said. "I like to get out in space because I can run. I know a lot of teams in our area like to leak running backs out of the backfield, and being able to cover has been a big part of my game.
"I can also go downhill and stick people, so don't think I am just in coverage, but I can cover."
Williams said that being known as a complete player is important to him, and it is something that he hopes to showcase at the inaugural Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge. He also added that the competition will bring out the best in him.
"Football should be a competition and it should be fun," he said. "I expect that there will be a lot of guys out there that are really good so I will have to be on my best.
"I am confident that I will do well."
"I can tell when a guy is down on himself," he said. "That is when you go right after them and finish them off mentally. Once you get in his head, you got him.
"I am mentally tough, so I don't worry about that and just go out and do my best."
Mike Farrell's take
Williams is a very confident kid who is athletic enough to line up against slot receivers in high school and drop easily into coverage, so he will be good in this situation. He's not the biggest kid, but he is quick; and the ability to cover and press from the slot as well as run sideline to sideline is more important in a 7-on-7 setting. Being a 2014 prospect it will be intriguing to see how he sees the field and fits in with a West linebacker group that is considered the weakest of the bunch, so you know he will play with a chip on his shoulder.