Hahnville’s Williams commits to Kansas


February 17 at 8:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Anthony Williams committed to Kansas earlier this month.
Anthony Williams committed to Kansas earlier this month.
Anthony Williams is widely known as one of Louisiana’s most explosive football players, and the Hahnville running back/wide receiver made his intentions known regarding the collegiate level.

Williams committed to the University of Kansas during a visit to the school earlier this month on the Jayhawks’ Junior Day, uniting him with former Warren Easton head coach Tony Hull, Kansas running back coach.

The 5’9, 170 lb. junior earned All-State honors after a prep season that saw him score 31 total touchdowns. Williams tallied 1,531 rushing yards on 180 carries and caught 35 passes for 772 yards and five touchdowns. He added two touchdowns on returns. Nicknamed “Pooka,” he led Hahnville to a 9-3 record in 2016 and helped drive an offense that scored 40 or more points six consecutive times during one stretch.

Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio said Williams was “wowed” on his trip, but also stopped well short of saying he thought the process of his star back’s recruitment was over.

“It’s nice that he’s getting that notoriety, (and) he certainly deserves it, but the way recruiting is, there’s a lot of time between now and February 4,” Saltaformaggio said, alluding to National Signing Day of 2018. “I’m glad he’s learning the process. You know, these days, recruiting is as big as the ball game in some places. Over the last five years, you’ve seen the coverage of recruitment really take off.”

Williams, along with fellow Hahnville players Laron Byrd, Larry Dixon and Hunter LeBlanc, will all be attending LSU’s Boys from the Boot Junior Day on Saturday.

Saltaformaggio said he believes Williams, who reportedly has offers from Mississippi State, UCLA and Tulane among a host of other schools, will “absolutely” translate his skills to the collegiate level.

“He’s one of the most dynamic kids you’ll ever find,” Saltaformaggio said. “Anthony is truly once in a lifetime. I haven’t coached anybody like him. In baseball, you have the five-tool player. He’s kinda that  five-tool player in football. He’s a kick returner, a punt returner, he can catch ball as a split end, can catch it out of the slot, can run the football downhill. And if I need to play him in the secondary, he’s probably our best defensive back. He projects very highly at next level.”

RICARD MOVES ON, SILVA TO CALL PLAYS — Lester Ricard, Hahnville’s offensive coordinator of the past two seasons, is moving on to become head coach at Walker in Baton Rouge.

Ricard called the plays in 2016 during one of the most productive offensive seasons in school history, but his desire to be a head coach ultimately capped his Hahnville run at two years, said Saltaformaggio.

“Lester always wanted to be a head coach,” Saltaformaggio said. “We knew when we hired him it was going to kind of be a short term deal. It’s an opportunity for him to be closer with his parents. His dad has a very strong ministry up there and Lester is very involved. He’s got a new born baby. And it’s an opportunity to be a head coach, something you can’t pass up on.”

Saltaformaggio said quarterbacks coach Mike Silva will assume playcalling duties as offensive coordinator, while former Hahnville and Southern star Bryant Lee is joining the staff as the new quarterbacks coach.

“Mike’s won a lot of football games (as a coordinator) over his career, and we share a similar philosophy of running the football,” Saltaformaggio said. “We’re going to run the ball and run the play-action passing game. It won’t be a whole lot different than what we’ve been.”

Saltaformaggio did say one emphasis going forward would be on finding ways to utilize their best players in key moments.

“When it’s important, our best players are gonna be on the field with the ball in their hands,” Saltaformaggio said.

Lee led Hahnville to the 2003 Class 5A state championship and went 27-1 as a starter during his time as Tigers quarterback. He’s a two-time Bayou Classic MVP and one of the most accomplished passers in Jaguars history.

“He’s a Hahnville legend and we’re excited to have him join us,” Saltaformaggio said. “When you can start getting those Hahnville guys back here to coach, they have that love for the school and that tie here, and that’s important. It’s great to see.”




View other articles written Ryan Arena

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