Gainesville High’s heavily sought-after defensive back will find a new home in Gainesville, Fla.
Chris Williamson, a first-team all-state selection, verbally committed to the University of Florida late Monday night on a Fox Sports South broadcast from Atlanta.
“I feel blessed to be in this position,” he said on the broadcast. “They showed me everything I needed to do well for them. I knew I could come into Florida and compete. It’ll only make me better as a player.”
Williamson, a senior, hauled in 52 receptions for 1,061 yards in his final year with the Red Elephants. The senior wide receiver scored 14 touchdowns, including two in a close 24-17 Class AAAAA quarterfinal loss to Allatoona. A two-way player under Gainesville coach Bruce Miller, Williamson will be playing defensive back for the Gators.
Williamson had received more than 20 scholarship offers from schools throughout the country before cutting his decision to Florida, Michigan and North Carolina.
Florida finished the 2014 regular season 7-5, 4-4 in the Southeastern Conference under former coach Will Muschamp before defeating East Carolina in the Jan. 3 Birmingham Bowl. Jim McElwain was introduced as Muschamp’s replacement in early December. McElwain previously led the Colorado State Rams to a 10-2 season in the Mountain West Conference in his final year in Colorado.
“I’m excited for him,” said Miller. “I think this is a great place for him to go and show his talent. They’re trying to rebuild at Florida and they’ve got a new coaching staff there. I think it sets a lot of things up for him.”
Williamson will join Jordan Scarlett, a four-star running back out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Florida who also announced his commitment to the Gators on Monday’s show.
Williamson said he had decided where he wanted to go while coming back home with his family from his official visit in Gainesville, Fla., this past weekend.
“Defense is where my heart is,” he said on Monday night. “That’s where my heart is, and where my money is. (Florida) is where I want to be for the rest of my career.”
Miller said he thought Williamson has a good chance of playing significant minutes in his first year under McElwain.
Williamson will be playing under Geoff Collins, the Gators’ new defensive coordinator. Miller coached Collins at Rockdale County High School in Conyers from 1987-88.
“It’s a very realistic ability,” said Miller. “He’s a special kid and I’m glad he’s going to a special place.”