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Lovejoy WR Preston Williams stays busy in offseason

Lovejoy wide receiver Preston Williams was recently named to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which will be played next January. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Lovejoy wide receiver Preston Williams was recently named to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which will be played next January. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

HAMPTON — Lovejoy wide receiver Preston Williams has stayed busy during the offseason. In addition to his workouts, Williams has been entertaining college coaches throughout the recruiting season.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound junior has also picked up some postseason invitation.

A few weeks ago, the all-state receiver accepted an invitation to participate in the annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which is held each January in San Antonio’s Alamodome and will be broadcast live on NBC.

“It is an honor to get invited to play in a game like this,” Williams said on Wednesday evening via cellphone. “It gives you an opportunity to showcase your skills against some of the top players in the country. Not only will I be representing myself, but also my school.”

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is considered one of the nation’s premier high school football games, featuring 90 of the most sought after high school football players in the nation. Through the years, the game has seen 238 participants drafted by the NFL — 63 of which were first-round selections and 49 of which were selected to the Pro Bowl.

Considered a four-star prospect by the majority of the top online recruiting services, Williams had 56 receptions for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns in leading Lovejoy to the Region 2-AAAAAA championship and second round of the state playoffs. He also returned three punts for touchdowns and had two interceptions on defense.

“I thought it was a pretty good season,” Williams said. “I’m working hard to get better. We want that state championship.”

Williams committed to Tennessee last September, but has taken visits to Clemson and Georgia. He has a visit set up with Florida next weekend, and will participate in a showcase camp on Saturday in Buford if the weather permits.

“I’m still solid with Tennessee,” he said.

If he follows through with his commitment to Tennessee, it would mark the third straight National Signing Day that a player from the Southern Crescent has inked with the SEC school. This past season, former Jonesboro standout Cameron Sutton became a starter in the secondary as a freshman.

A couple weeks ago, former Locust Grove standout defensive back Cortez McDowell signed with the Vols. He is considered one of the top safeties in the country.

“Tennessee is building something special,” Williams said. “I have not even thought about another school yet.”

The highlight of the season for Williams came in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs when he propelled the then-second ranked Wildcats to a last-season win over Marietta at Twelve Oaks Stadium. Williams caught a 47-yard touchdown pass over three Marietta defenders as time expired for a 27-23 victory.

In that game, he had four touchdown receptions, including one that went for 95 yards.