An offer he couldn't refuse

Sometimes ESPNU 150 athlete Eddie Williams (Panama City, Fla./Arnold) still can't believe it.

The tall, athletic prospect from Northwest Florida is the top-rated player in the state and will be one of the crown jewels in Alabama's 2012 recruiting class.

On Thursday during the American Life Insurance presents the Under Armour All-America Game selection tour he accepted his jersey nearly a year after committing to the game.

"It's really a great honor to play in this game and have the opportunity to compete with the best of the best in the nation," Williams said. "I talked to a few people, some coaches and other players that played in the game.

"It seemed like all the top players were playing in the Under Armour game and you always want to be around the top players because it means you are a top player."

There's little doubt of the talent the 6-foot-4, 200-pound recruit possesses. Williams plays quarterback and safety for Arnold. He has accounted for over 500 total yards and six touchdowns on offense and two interceptions, a fumble recovery and two more touchdowns on defense.

After a strong junior season, Williams caught the eye of Alabama coach Nick Saban. Saban, who also coaches defensive backs for the Crimson Tide, made Williams a priority and received an early commitment from the player.

"I was blown away by the fact that the man himself, Nick Saban, reached out to me to play football for him," Williams said. "You really can't say no to that, can you?

"The thing that really made me want to play for Coach Saban is that he is going to be straight up with you. He's all about business and developing football talent. A lot of coaches tell you what you want to hear but Coach Saban tells you the truth and what it takes to be a champion."

Under Saban's tenure, Alabama has been no stranger to the championship race. The Crimson Tide won a national championship in 2009 and are currently ranked No. 2 in the BCS.

"Right now I'm excited about Alabama and what they are doing this season," Williams said. "I'm confident they are going to win the national championship this year.

"Trent Richardson is from this area and they are talking about him winning the Heisman. They are getting better every week on offense, on defense, in the secondary. It's a great team."

Williams expects to play defense full time upon joining the Alabama program, but he said he can play several positions and will do whatever it takes to contribute to the program.

"I definitely want to play safety in college but I'm an athlete," Williams added. "I'm going to let the coaches choose where they think I can best fit the team. They are the guys in charge and I'm going to listen to them."

Williams said he isn't too familiar with his future teammates and opponents in the Under Armour game. He met Eddie Goldman when they were both visiting Alabama and said he talks to him every now and then.

He is also familiar with Jacksonville First Coast wide receiver Chris Black, another Alabama commit. There is a possibility he will be lined up against Black and another Alabama wide receiver commit, Miami Northwestern's Amari Cooper, during practice or in the game.

"Chris Black's name sounds pretty familiar, I think I've met him before," Williams said. "I'm going to be looking at both of them a little I guess, but really I'm going to focus on my game and playing my best.

"I probably won't pay too much attention to everyone else because they will be focused on their games. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone though."

Williams is naturally low key and said that while he can get serious on the field, he's more likely to speak on the field with his actions.

For now he's going to enjoy his day as an All-American but quickly shift his focus back to his current teammates.

"It's exciting to think about that week of practicing in [Florida] and the game," Williams said. "But right now I'm going to lead my team to the playoffs and continue to enjoy playing with these guys."

Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at coreyespn@gmail.com.