On Feb. 2, defensive end Andrew Williams highlighted the festivity with his decision to sign a scholarship at Auburn.
With the ESPNU television cameras rolling, Williams unlocked his brief case and put on an Auburn hat and shirt, simultaneously turning down offers from Clemson, Mississippi and Georgia, which he said made a strong last-minute push.
“What really moved me about Auburn was when I started taking visits when they were 3-9 or whatever and seeing that transformation over the summer and throughout the year to compete for a national title,” Williams said.
Even though Williams knew this was a serious step he was taking, he felt the need to play a little joke on future coach Rodney Garner.
“I told coach Garner ‘unfortunately I will be visiting your school,’” Williams said. “He said he almost had a heart attack. They were ecstatic.”
This past season, Williams had 70 tackles, including 36 stops for loss, and 10 sacks en route to being named Class A Defensive Player of the Year.
“Coach [Gus] Malzahn recruiting me from day one speaks volumes to me,” said the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Williams.
“Andrew is a guy we feel like can give us depth early on,” Malzahn said.
Williams isn’t the only Charger heading to Auburn since linebacker Josh Shockley will be attending as a preferred walk-on.
The other four Chargers to sign scholarships last Wednesday were quarterback Dalton Etheridge, safety Bryson Durden, offensive lineman Beau Beasley and wide receiver/defensive back Jamal Tookes.
Durden will also be a preferred walk-on but at Tennessee.
“They’re telling me if I get out there and make an impact early I can hopefully get a scholarship before the year is even over,” Durden said.
Etheridge signed with Jacksonville State, Beasley agreed to attend Point University and Tookes will head to West Point.
“I’m just happy for everybody,” Etheridge said. “I just hope they made the right pick and hope they keep pursuing Christ.”