The calendar has turned to 2019 and Iowa wrapped up the majority of their 2019 recruiting class last month. They may look to add a few more commits for 2019 on the next signing day in February, but for the most part it's all eyes on 2020. And Iowa's 2020 recruiting class got a big shot in the arm Friday night with the commitment of a key in-state target:
Four-star in-state RB Gavin Williams has committed to Iowa, his mother tells me. Major, major get for the Hawkeyes. Story to come.— Matthew Bain (@MatthewBain_) January 12, 2019
Williams confirmed his commitment on Instagram as well:
Gavin Williams, a standout running back from the Des Moines area, competed at Southeast Polk during his first three years of high school, but is transferring to West Des Moines Dowling, winners of the last six (!) consecutive 4A state championships in Iowa, for his senior season. During this most recent season, SE Polk made the state semifinals before losing to Cedar Falls (and 2019 Iowa commit Jack Campbell) and Williams was a key part of their success, running for 1,309 yards and 12 touchdowns on 222 carries for the Rams.
Williams, listed at 6'0", 195 lbs, is rated a 4* recruit by 247 Sports and a 3* recruit by Rivals and is one of the highest-rated recruits in Iowa this year. He had some big time offers as well -- in addition to in-state offers from both Iowa and Iowa State, Michigan and Nebraska also offered Williams and Notre Dame had some level of interest in him as well. Locking down the best in-state talent is always a good thing for Iowa; beating out a program like Michigan for a recruit is really good.
In addition to his prowess on the football field, Williams is also a very solid sprinter, posting a time of 10.81 in the 100-meter dash at the Drake Relays and a time of 10.90 in the 100 at the 4A state tournament. That speed is one of the things on display in his highlights:
First things first: it's hard to ignore that he looks damn good in black and gold, right? (He'll have to trade black and gold for maroon this year, but he can put it back on when he gets to Iowa City in 2020.) Also, these are highlights from his sophomore year; unfortunately there isn't a good highlight clip from his junior year available yet, although you can see highlights from several 2018 games on his Hudl page.
Anyway, the highlights. Williams reads his blocks well and shows good patience, but he hits the hole well when he needs to do so. He's got a nasty spin move and he's good at fighting through tackle attempts -- he doesn't go down easily or on first contact very much (especially near the end zone). But my biggest takeaway is that he's pretty dynamite for defenders in the open field; once he sees daylight he's great at accelerating away from defenders and generating big plays. Big plays were in short supply for Iowa's running game last year and while we hope incoming 2019 commit Tyler Goodson might be able to help fix that in 2019, it never hurts to have more options to turn to in the running game, either. And Williams looks like the sort of running back who can definitely make an impact with the ball. And, bonus, he flashes some nice ability as a pass-catcher, both on screen plays and on longer routes out of the backfield (WHEEL ROUTE~!), and also as a kick returner.
Welcome to Iowa, Mr. Williams. We can't wait to see you do some damage in the Big Ten.