Originally created 01/25/02

Williams goes Division I route



Following in teammate Reggie Merriweather's footsteps, Richie Williams will be playing Division I football this season.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound defensive back for North Augusta verbally committed Thursday to play at Iowa, his favorite university.

Merriweather, a running back, has verbally committed to Clemson.

National signing day is Feb. 6.

"It has always been a dream of mine to go to Iowa," Williams said. "In my heart, it was one of the schools I really wanted to go to.

"I like the (Big Ten) conference. I really wanted to go to a nice school, and I am," Williams said.

Williams also drew interest from Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Wofford, Newberry and Presbyterian.

"We thought he was pretty good," said North Augusta coach Joe Long said. "He didn't get that much recognition, but he was getting a lot of interest.

"We make a big deal about making videotapes for schools, and he's always liked Iowa, so we sent one to them," Long added. "They got it and called him to set up an official visit."

Williams was North Augusta's second-leading tackler with 72, intercepted three passes and knocked down 10 passes. He was a member of The Augusta Chronicle's All-Area second team. It was his first year playing varsity defense. He had been a wide receiver.

"You go from getting the ball to getting the guy with the ball," Williams said. "I was able to adapt well, and that's what schools look for; a defensive back with great hands."

Williams' teammate, Lafayette Stewart, also announced he verbally committed to play at Division II powerhouse Carson-Newman.

Stewart, a defensive back who played in the North-South All-Star game, recorded 10 1/2 sacks, three interceptions and 70 tackles during the Yellow Jackets 9-3 season. He was selected to The Chronicle's All-Area first team.

Midland Valley tight end Jamie Peters also announced his commitment to The Citadel.

Selected to the Shrine Bowl as well as The Chronicle's All-Area first team, Peters caught 18 passes for 210 yards last season for the Mustangs.

Reach Miguelangelo Hernandez at (706) 823-3304.