After one of the more low-profile recruitments for a player of his stature, New Iberia (La.) Westgate safety Derek Williams has officially signed with the Texas Longhorns on Early Signing Day, adding another elite defender to the class.
Williams’ recruitment did not feature much of the fanfare or drama that can be associated with top-tier recruits, with Terry Joseph and Blake Gideon closing the deal relatively early in the cycle. Williams named a group of top eight schools in early June of 2022, took an official visit three weeks later, and committed following the visit — marking the only official visit of his recruitment. He took unofficial visits with three other members of his top eight, the Texas A&M Aggies, the Miami Hurricanes, and with the in-state LSU Tigers.
As the top defensive prospect in the state of Louisiana, it was assumed that the Tigers would get another official visit, but Williams opted to use just one of his five possible official visits, even though he planned to do so late in the cycle — ultimately, it was a big win by Joseph and Gideon to convince him not to put off signing until February and shut down those visit plans.
The No. 3 player in the state of Louisiana, the No. 3 safety in the country, and the No. 41 player overall, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Williams represents a prospect with starter-level attributes at a position of need.
Williams projects as a safety with the Longhorns, but has a well-rounded skill set, logging time at cornerback, running back, and wide receiver for the Tigers during his three-year stint on the varsity squad. As one of the most talented players on the defense, Williams was seemingly all over the field, playing man and zone coverage and even showing skills to come down into the box and play run support.
He is one of just two secondary takes for Texas in the 2023 recruiting class, joining elite cornerback Malik Muhammad for that honor.