March 27, 2011

Q&A with the Nittany Lions' newest linebacker

Friday afternoon, Roxbury (Mass.) Catholic Memorial linebacker Camren Williams (6-2, 217) verbally committed to the Penn State coaching staff, becoming Penn State's second verbal in the Class of 2012.

Blue White Illustrated caught will Williams Sunday afternoon, for a complete one-on-one interview with the Nittany Lions newest linebacker.

You were already thinking about verbally committing to Penn State, but was there any moment during the trip when you knew you were going to commit.

Williams - We got there Thursday night and I had the idea that this was my favorite school, I was pretty much ready to commit, but I had to be with coach Vanderlinden a little more, the head academic advisor a little more, just the people around practice and everything like that.

"One I got done with practice on Friday, I committed right after. We met with coach Van, coach Kenney and coach Kav, I just told them I was read to commit and that this is the place I wanted to go."

Can you explain what your dad does in the recruiting business? I know it's not his day-to-day job, but can you explain what he does?

Williams - His normal day job, he's a financial advisor, but on the side, Massachusetts has very few Division I football players, maybe 10 a year, so he always felt that Mass. had more talent than just 10 football scholarships a year. So his goal is to help kids get recruited, send their film out to schools, getting them in showcases and getting them to showcases, so they can really get seen and get more opportunities. He ran the five-ftar showcase in our area last year."

Your dad obviously understands how the recruiting process works, not only does he work in that industry, but your brother went through the process a few years ago. Did that have any affect on you committing early, since you already understood the process and understood what needed to be done?

Williams - "Exactly, that's exactly how it worked for me. I just have seen so many schools, I knew exactly what I wanted in schools, I'm a very thorough person. A lot of the schools I automatically said no. I just couldn't see myself going there, they didn't fit my needs, they didn't have my major, didn't have the right coach, all that stuff.

"I really narrowed it down really fast. Once I knew that Penn State was the school for me, there was know reason to wait it out anymore, it was time to commit."

Your coming in as a linebacker and your close with Khairi Fortt, can you talk a little more about your relationship with Khairi and did he have any part in our commitment?

Williams - "We just know each other from football, the first year my dad did the five-star showcase, it was with Khairi's father, they partnered together. Khairi was in the showcase just to help, he didn't really need it, but he was in it just to help get some recognition, how people look at the showcase.

"He was like 6-2, 220 and ran a 4.5 forty. I was just amazed by him, he was like a mentor because that's exactly who I wanted to be like. He's just like me, same size, same build, that's who I always wanted to play like."

What about coach Vanderlinden, coach Kenney and coach Kav, you seem to talk highly abut all three coaches?

Williams - "Coach Kenney and coach Kavanaugh were huge because they were both from Massachusetts, so we really related well, they're fun to be around and I really like them. I know that both of them will be a huge part of my four years at Penn State.

"I really like coach Vanderlinden a lot, he's a really good coach, a really positive coach. On the defensive side of the ball, you can see a lot of negative people, especially at linebacker because it's such a technical position, but he always finds a way to be positive and he obviously gets it done. In the past four years, he's had six linebackers go to the NFL and get drafted, so he knows how to get it done."

Penn State has a great academic reputation and your father mentioned the importance of their top kinesiology program. Is there anything your trying to pursue specifically, athletic training, anything like that?

IWilliams - "It was between athletic training and fitness studies. I learned that athletic training actually takes up a lot of hours, especially for football players, so that doesn't work to well for the football players, schedule wise. I don't necessarily want to be a trainer, so fitness studies is more in the field of a strength & conditioning coach.

"I went to the kinesiology schools on Friday, so that went well, I learned this stuff there."

You we at Beaver Stadium for coach Paterno's 400th win against Northwestern. Can you talk a little more about that day and that visits impact on your commitment?

Williams - "Yeah, that was huge. Penn State actually came out looking really sluggish, I think they were down 21-7 in the first half. The crowd was just... basically, the crowd just took over the game. They were insane, it was the loudest game I've ever been to. They took over the game, Penn State came back and won, it was just a great experience.

"Being on the field for when they lifted coach Paterno up for that four hundredth win was great. They showed that presentation and video of all the stuff he's been through since coming to Penn State. They showed every single win, all four hundred. The fans were going crazy, it was just nuts. It was a great experience. I keep looking up on YouTube all the Penn State fans yelling, the whiteout, all their highlights and stuff, I'm excited."

Now that this process is behind you, your going to be able to focus on becoming a better player and student. Is there anything specific you might be doing, any personal trainers or stuff like that?

Williams - "I'll be doing all that basically, now that I'm done with a commitment, I won't be doing any traveling, maybe one trip to Penn State for the spring game and probably an official visit during the season, but that's about it.

"At the end of the year, I was always going to a new school every Friday, I was missing school all the time, workouts and stuff like that. Now I can just focus on my high school team, be a senior captain and lead my team towards a state championship. I want to workout and be a good student, so that should definitely help now that I'm committed."

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