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Lovejoy WR Preston Williams thrives in the spotlight

Lovejoy senior Preston Williams is considered the state’s top wide receiver prospect coming into the season by several online recruiting services. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Lovejoy senior Preston Williams is considered the state’s top wide receiver prospect coming into the season by several online recruiting services. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

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Preston Williams is the top returning wide receiver in the state after hauling in 56 receptions for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns in leading Lovejoy to the second round of the playoffs. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

HAMPTON — The spotlight will definitely be on Preston Williams this season.

Considered the state’s top wide receiver prospect and a preseason all-state selection, Williams will be under the microscope this year as he tried to help the sixth-ranked Wildcats win a fifth straight region title.

“I know a lot of people will be looking at me,” Williams said. “I can’t worry about all of that hype and stuff. My main goal is to help this team win a state championship. I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself. I just have to go out and do what I do.”

And last year, not many people did it better than Williams. He is the state’s top returning wide receiver after making 56 receptions for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The Wildcats open the season against rival Mundy’s Mill tonight at Twelve Oaks Stadium.

Williams opens his season Friday at Mundy’s Mill. He is coming off a season in which he caught 56 passes for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Coming into the season, he is considered a front-runner for the state player of the year honors. Rated the No. 3 wide-receiver prospect in the nation, Williams is committed to the Tennessee Volunteers.

But Lovejoy coach aren’t worried about letting all the preseason hype making him overconfident.

“Preston can handle the pressure,” said first-year Lovejoy coach Edgar Carson. “He sort of thrives in those type situations. He is a very humble kid.”

Williams teammates also share those sentiments.

“He handles it well, Preston thrives in the spotlight,” said Lovejoy defensive back Montell Custis, who has committed to Alabama. “Preston is a great person. He is always helpful to his teammates. He is always teaching the young kids about Lovejoy football.”

Carson really found out what kind of team player Williams was like this summer. Williams was invited to Nike’s The Opening in Beaverton, Ore., in early July for a weeklong instructions and competition against some of the top players in the country.

The day after the camp ended at the Nike World Headquarters, Williams caught an early morning flight back to Atlanta to participate in a 7-on-7 tournament with his teammates.

“That showed me that he wasn’t a selfish guy,” Carson said. “Preston had been in touch with me all week that he was going to make that cross-country flight to be with his teammates. He could have very easily headed home to rest. Everyone on the team respects Preston, and he is a very down-to-earth person.”

Williams said all the personal accolades are great, but his main goal is to leave high school with a state championship.

“It will be great to be all-state, but I want to help this team win,” he said. “I got to do whatever it takes to win. All the personal stuff is great as long as we are winning. We have a lot of players on this team, and we play as a team.”