TAHLEQUAH -- We were at the Tulsa Edison playoff game with Tahlequah last week to see Edison's junior standout at defensive end in Chris McClellan and the 6-4, 250 pound McClellan did not disappoint, He had promised to put on a show and he did. Tahlequah staved off the furious comeback effort of the Edison Eagles to win 34-29 and advance to play Bishop Kelley in the next round. One of the main reasons that the Tigers won was linebacker Eli McWilliams. The 6-4, 200-pound McWilliams was running sideline to sideline making plays for Tahlequah. He also plays into the backfield and can drop into pass coverage since he has experience playing in the secondary.
"I love playing linebacker and I love to play physical," McWilliams told me this week. "I just started playing linebacker this season and I know that I kind of play... like you said I play 'see ball, get ball.'"
McWilliams was admitting that his technique and his IQ at the position is lacking, but his ability is not. He is a quick twitch athlete that formerly played safety.
"I moved from Jenks and I played safety there because I wasn't that big, but when I got to Tahlequah, I had a growth spurt and they moved me to linebacker," McWilliams said. "I run track, the 100-meters and I long jump and high jump."
That is music to a coach's ears. His coach at Tahlequah told me they haven't ruled out moving him to defensive end if he gets bigger this off season. I think he is more likely to stay at linebacker and when he gets to college he will end up being a 6-4, 225-240-pound linebacker. He reminds me physically of current Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins with his frame. McWilliams told me that he does want to play college football and said when he received a questionaire and material in the mail from Oklahoma State football this past week that OSU was his "dream school".
He wants to major in Petroleum Engineering Technology and follow in the footsteps of a family member. McWilliams is a good student and a good football player that is only going to get better and is just being discovered.