Before the weekend, Todd Graham secured his sixth verbal commitment for the 2012 class - linebacker Alkwan Williams. Williams is a fairly low-level prospect for Graham from Johnstown, who's starting to get things going on the recruiting front.Williams is in the mold of most of Graham's other commits in terms of recruiting rankings this season. His only offers other than Pitt were from Temple, Toledo, and Kent State, though he may have had interest from Penn State, Michigan State, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, among others.
While he's listed as a linebacker, he's also somewhat of a big-play receiver, as evidenced by his 25 catches for 500+ yards and seven touchdowns on offense. Scout projects him at outside linebacker:
Williams mainly plays in the middle, but he seems like too good of an athlete and his build would seem to indicate he is a better fit at outside linebacker. He is very instinctive and is a very good read and react backer. He seems to diagnose the play quickly and then stops it. He plays well in traffic and can blitz very effectively. He is good in coverage and is a sideline-to-sideline backer. He is not overly fast, but he has a quick first step.
I delved into this earlier this month, but Graham is really going hard early after some lower-level guys.
Williams is unrated by Rivals and only given two stars by Scout. Part of me wonders why Graham continues to go after guys that they could get later down the road, but the other part is just happy Pitt is finally getting some recruits in. Still, this is kind of an odd strategy by Graham. Many four- and five-star guys like to be a part of classes with other similar players coming in and I wonder how many will be turned off by a school that is picking up so many unrated and two-star guys.
Not that you want to build a class around what other recruits think, but, well, I hope Pitt is chasing some bigger fish - and I'm sure they are.
Anyway, for what it's worth, his coach is high on him - really high:
"It looks like he is blitzing (because) he is in there so fast," Penna said. "He just explodes to the ball."
"We have had some great players here, but his game speed is unbelievable," Penna said. "There is really not much Alkwan can't do. He could play defensive tackle if we asked him."
"It's to the point now that he is a man playing among boys," Penna said.
Williams told Chris Peak of Pantherlair.com that he’s wanted to be a Panther since his freshman season.