Rick O'Brien: W. Catholic star facing new decision

West Catholic's David Williams protects the ball as he runs past Archbishop Ryan defenders on Sept. 30. Williams will need a new high school after West closes its doors.
West Catholic's David Williams protects the ball as he runs past Archbishop Ryan defenders on Sept. 30. Williams will need a new high school after West closes its doors. (ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer)

David Williams has to choose a college - and a new high school.

Posted: January 15, 2012

David Williams said he soon hopes to narrow his growing list of prospective colleges to five or so.

Higher on the star running back's current to-do list, after the recent announcement that West Catholic will shut its doors come June, is deciding where he wants to spend his final year of high school.

For now, his top three schools, in no particular order, are La Salle, Imhotep Charter, and Cardinal O'Hara. The speedy junior added that Archbishop Wood and Roman Catholic are also possibilities.

"A lot of people hit me up on Facebook, telling me where they think I should go," the 17-year-old said.

This is the second time that Williams has had to look elsewhere because of a school's closure.

He spent his freshman year at North Catholic, which, along with Cardinal Dougherty and Kennedy-Kenrick, was axed by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 2010.

"It's kind of overwhelming in a way," Williams said. "I have to go somewhere else and start all over again."

Even though West Catholic had long been considered high on the list of schools that would be targeted to close, Williams said that didn't make the Jan. 6 announcement any easier.

"It's still really hard," he said. "Sometimes, when I'm sitting in the classroom, I'll think about all the good experiences I've had here.

"When myself and others came over from North Catholic, the people here didn't look at us differently just because we were coming from another school. I'll always remember that."

Williams, who lives in West Oak Lane, said he has scheduled a visit for this week to Cardinal O'Hara, in Springfield, Delaware County, and will "shadow" a student during the school day.

"I'll get to observe things and check out what it's like," he said. "I'm probably going to do the same at a few other schools."

Of La Salle, the 6-foot, 180-pounder said: "They've got a strong tradition, which is good. But, with the high tuition, a lot would depend on the financial aid they could offer. It's not cheap."

Imhotep, at 21st and Godfrey, could be the ideal fit for Williams. That's because one of his mentors, Albie Crosby, who helped head coach Brian Fluck run West Catholic's offense the last four years, is taking over the Panthers.

Of course, the downside is the softer schedule that Imhotep, a Class AA program in the Public League, plays.

"The competition isn't as good as it is in the Catholic League," Williams said, "but I think I've proven myself the last two years against some of the best teams out there. I've shown what I can do."

Williams, who was clocked at 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash last summer, boasts 11 Division I scholarship offers. Notre Dame, Purdue, Maryland, Virginia, and Wisconsin are among the biggies recruiting him.

For now, Williams is working closely with his mother, Damara, to sort out his next move.

"The biggest thing she tells me," he said, "is not to go somewhere just to please somebody else. She says, 'Go there because you want to go there.' "

Rumorville. Fluck, who compiled a 119-53 record (.692 winning percentage) in 13 seasons with the Burrs, is rumored to be the front-runner to replace Jim Algeo at Lansdale Catholic.

Others in the mix for the Lansdale Catholic job, according to sources, are La Salle offensive line coach Dom D'Addona; Pennridge defensive coordinator Bob Rosenberger; and Lansdale Catholic offensive coordinator Mike deMarteleire Jr., Algeo's grandson.

There also has been talk of Fluck crossing the river, bringing Williams with him, and assisting ex-St. Joseph's Prep boss Gil Brooks at Camden Catholic.

2012 slate. In addition to facing PIAA Class AAA state champion Archbishop Wood in a Week 7 crossover game next season, La Salle will host Cardinal O'Hara in a nonleague tilt in Week 3 (Sept. 14-15).


Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019, robrien@phillynews.com, or @ozoneinq on Twitter. Read his blog, "The O'Zone," at www.philly.com/ozone

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