At multiple stops this offseason, SI All-American has taken notice of Ayden Williams, but we're late to that party. The Ridgeland (Miss.) High wide receiver already holds a half-dozen FBS scholarship offers with plans to cap his prep career on national television.
Last weekend, the 6'3", 188-pound prospect showcased his work as a member of the Mississippi Heat 7-on-7 squad, one of dozens competing at the Championship 7v7 Atlanta event Saturday and Sunday. Williams helped lead the group to a quarterfinal run in the high school division with a deep threat display of speed and head-turning catches in traffic (see video above).
Williams broke out in 2020 at Ridgeland, hauling in 58 passes for 765 yards and six touchdowns in just 10 games. Amid the rise, in-state powers Ole Miss and Mississippi State offered him a scholarship on the same day in September. Oregon, Florida State, Southern Miss and Louisiana-Monroe have done the same since.
"I'm just talking it over with my family," he told SIAA of the process. "I'm only in the 10th grade, I got a minute to just think about it. I'm not really thinking about making an early commitment."
The in-state extensions became somewhat expected by those around the emerging prospect, but once Power 5 programs beyond Magnolia State lines jumped in the race his profile took off.
Surprise met him at the same time.
"When Oregon and Florida State offered, it was like 'dang!'" Williams said. "I was at school when it happened. Oregon felt big coming to Mississippi. That's way on the top of the map. Where I'm from, nobody from where I'm from, thinks about Oregon. But they've got the uniforms and all that. They run a good offense, I know that much. When they offered me, I looked them up to see what they do. De'Anthony Thomas went there so...
"Florida State actually offered me on my birthday, so that really made it sweet. I like Florida (the state) so that got me excited."
Additional P5 programs are interested in Williams, he reports, but as the NCAA recruiting dead period figures to open up this summer, he is expected to take traditional prospect visits for the first time since he earned his first offers.
A trip to Oxford could be one to watch.
"I grew up watching Ole Miss," he said. "DK (Metcalf), AJ (Brown), I grew up watching all of them boys. Elijah Moore went crazy this year, too. They're really Wide Receiver U.
"Lane Kiffin is up there so it's like an air raid."
Williams, who helped Ridgeland make a playoff run as a sophomore, is already committed to play in the 2023 Under Armour All-America Game.
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