For the second time this year, a holiday weekend has proven to be time to celebrate for another football player from Warren G. Harding.
On Martin Luther King Day, Aunre Davis gave a verbal commitment to join the Falcons of Bowling Green University this summer, which ended a rare two year for Harding sending a player to a Division 1 school.
Now, a couple days before St. Patrick's Day, standout wide receiver D.J. Williamson already has the ball rolling for the class of 2010 as he made it known to University of Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez that he will be a Wolverine upon graduation. It was his first official Division I offer, but being a lifelong fan of the maize and blue, it was the only one he was waiting for.
"I feel real good right now," Williamson said. "It's one thing to get your first offer, but this is a dream come true for me. I always wanted to go to Michigan, and now I'll have my chance."
Winning is the main priority for any program in any sport, but the main philosophy of Harding coach D.J. Dota and his staff is the kids' future comes first.
"Our first goal is to get our players into college," Dota said. "They work very hard for us throughout the year, so as a staff our job is to make sure that they get the exposure that they need and deserve. Our program has a long, proud history of sending kids to the next level, so it's great to see that standard being upheld.
"D.J. is a good kid and I know that his parents are very proud of him. Now, all that he has to do is focus on keeping his grades in order and staying out of trouble. Thankfully, I doubt that anybody has anything to worry about in regards to those things."
Despite the intense Ohio State-Michigan rivalry that has the majority of the Buckeye State siding with the scarlet and gray, it's not hard to figure out why there are kids from Warren who dream of being Wolverines. Williamson grew up watching players from his hometown in former Wolverines Carl Diggs, Prescott Burgess and Mario Manningham, have successful careers in Ann Arbor. Knowing his name will soon be added to that list is more than he could ever ask for.
"He is one of the main reasons why I grew up wanting to play football," Williamson said of Manningham. "I've always looked up to him. He's a great player, but he's also a good person."
Manningham, who currently plays for the New York Giants, plans to take full advantage of his role as Williamson's mentor. He didn't waste any time in doing so.
"I called D.J. shortly after he committed," Manningham said. "It feels good to know that I can have a positive effect on kids from my hometown, so I feel a responsibility to support them when they are doing good things. I'm very happy for D.J. and his family, and I'm going to make sure that I can give him any advice that I think that he needs in regards to Michigan."
For most athletes heading into their senior year, the summer is a great time to boost their recruiting stock through camps. In Williamson's case, now he can focus on building stronger relationships with his future coaches and teammates.
"I'm going back up to Michigan on April 11 for their spring game," Williamson added. "I want to get more familiar with the campus and the staff now so I can have a better idea of what's going on."
As far as his senior year is concerned, Williamson is focused on getting Harding back amongst the elite in Ohio. Before he officially becomes a Wolverine, he wants to help give Harding fans a lot more to cheer about.
"We want to get back to the playoffs and compete for a state championship," he added. " We believe that we have the talent to do so, and everybody is hungry. We know that we are capable of doing better as a team, so that's everyone's focus is now. I'm excited about my senior year."