Feb. 23, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla, -- With Monday's news that Nick Moody will be switching from safety to linebacker, Florida State has an immediate need for more depth in the back-end of its secondary.
Enter P.J. Williams.
A versatile athlete at Vanguard High School in Ocala, Fla., Williams was the first verbal commitment for FSU's 2012 class. He stayed committed to and eventually signed with the 'Noles despite offers from some of the nation's other elite football programs.
For the Seminoles, Williams will likely start out at safety where FSU doesn't have a tremendous amount of depth but he also has the skills necessary to play cornerback.
"He's got great speed. He's got great height," said FSU defensive ends coach D.J. Eliot, who served as Williams' primary recruiter. "They played him at a lot of positions."
With Moody's move, Williams will be added to a rotation that includes starter Lamarcus Joyner as well as Terrence Brooks and Karlos Williams, who will both be competing for the other starting position made available by Terrance Parks' graduation.
Justin Bright is a true safety and youngsters Tyler Hunter, Keelin Smith and Lamarcus Brutus are hybrid-type athletes that can play any of the positions in the secondary -- a characteristic coveted by defensive coordinator Mark Stoops.
Like those players, P.J. Williams provides that same multi-dimensional trait. He also possesses a strong desire to be a Seminole.
"He came to camp before his junior year and he had a goal to get offered by Florida State," Eliot said. "That was his goal from camp and shortly after that camp we gave him that offer and he instantly committed to us. He grew up a Florida State fan.
"Now, that didn't change the fact that others still went after him and we had to maintain that commitment and that's always a test there."
As a two-way player in high school, P.J. Williams played primarily at safety where he was allowed to roam free as a ballhawk and come up into the box in support of the run. He also played wide receiver and was a return man on special teams.
Number watch: P.J. Williams will have to choose a new number when he gets to FSU as the No. 2 he wore in high school is retired in celebration of Deion Sanders' career in the garnet and gold. If P.J. Williams wants to wear the No. 14 he donned in the Under Armour All-American game in January, those digits are available for a defensive player.