The Recruiting Guy:

Dad ready to see son travel similar path

Published: Sunday, September 23, 2018
Joe T. Robinson defensive end Zach Williams looks toward the sideline during a game against Rogers on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, in Little Rock.
Photo by Thomas Metthe
Joe T. Robinson defensive end Zach Williams looks toward the sideline during a game against Rogers on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, in Little Rock.

Former University of Arkansas and All-Southwest Conference linebacker Rickey Williams is looking forward to seeing his son Zach, a Razorbacks commitment, experience life as a Hog.

"I can't wait for him to get on campus and go to class and get a chance to interact with people from all over the state and the country and just develop into a young man," Williams said.

Zach Williams, 6-4, 230 pounds, 4.57 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Joe T. Robinson, wasn't short on options when he picked the Hogs on July 5. Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Oregon and Florida were just some of his 26 scholarship offers.

The elder Williams remembers the thrill he received while playing home games and earning hard-fought road victories.

"To hear that crowd cheering for you and calling those Hogs, I can't wait for him to experience that," Williams said. "There's nothing like that. I can't wait for him to experience going on the road and getting a big win. Those are the kind of things that you carry with you the rest of your life."

Zach said his father has reminisced about his time in Fayetteville.

"He told me he broke some record and he played as a freshman," Zach said.

An ESPN four-star prospect, Williams said he looked past his father's days as a Razorback and focused on the best fit for him.

"I had other options, and I had to find the best fit that would take me the furtherest," Zach said.

He and his parents visited numerous schools, including unofficial visits to Texas, Florida, Baylor and Alabama, and official visits to Arkansas, Louisville, Oregon State and TCU.

"People say, 'What's up Mr. Razorback' and stuff like that," Zach said. "It does make me feel a lot better knowing people support my decision."

He's got a taste of what life will be like as a Razorback while shopping.

"I didn't know who they were, but they knew my name," he said.

Rickey Williams, who ranks eighth on the Arkansas career tackles list with 343, was to have a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys, but a car accident the day before the tryout ended those hopes. He played two years for the London Monarchs in the World League of American Football and was part of a championship team in 1991.

He's eager to see Zach enjoy a couple of his most cherished memories as a Razorback.

"There's nothing like running through that A and singing that fight song after that game when you win," Rickey said.

Zach likely will know the Arkansas fight song better than his freshman teammates.

"To this day, I still sing it and my wife kind of gets agitated sometimes," Rickey said. "There's nothing like it. 'Hit that line. Keep on going. Move that ball right down the field. Give a cheer. Rah. Rah. Never fear. Arkansas will never yield.' I love it."

The younger Williams, who has a 3.6 grade-point average, is taking his second pre-calculus and English 4 online classes so he can enroll in January.

When Zach announced his decision to be a Hog, Rickey said David Bazzel, Greg Thomas and Kendall Trainor were just some of his former teammates who reached out to congratulate him.

"When I went to the University of Arkansas, I had friends for life," Rickey said. "A few of them have gone on to be with the Lord, but they were still my friends for life."

Zach's mother Keli was a standout volleyball player in high school before attending college. Currently a senior vice president of sales at iHeartMedia, she has urged Zach to stay grounded.

"She said don't forget about me, don't forget about friends, don't forget about family because they're the reason why you even got here in the first place," Zach said. "I was like 'Yes ma'am.' "

Email Richard Davenport at

rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports on 09/23/2018

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