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Champs recruiting an eighth grader

It seems that recruiting in college football these days can never start early enough, even at National Champion Florida State. The Seminoles are showing interest in a talented football prospect- who currently is in the eighth grade. The Class of 2019 prospect will even make a visit to campus in the coming weeks.

#8 Rashad Williams - 2013 Highlights ESM

Meet Rashad Williams from Charlotte, N.C.

“It is unbelievable,” Williams told 247Sports early Wednesday afternoon. “I didn’t expect to get recruited at this age. I thought maybe it happen by my junior or senior year.”

This story has roots in a player-coach relationship at the highest level of football.

Former Carolina Panthers standout Brentson Buckner received film of Williams playing for the North Charlotte Hawks, a Little League team in the 14-and-under age group. He shared the video link with Sal Sunseri, the Seminoles defensive ends coach who coached the defensive line, which included Buckner, for the Panthers from 2002-08, including the franchise's 2003 Super Bowl run. 

The wheels were then set in motion. 

“I got a call from (Buckner) saying Florida State really liked my son,” Rashad's father Hilton Williams said. “That was last Thursday. FSU told him that my son has very good feet. He said Sal want FSU to be the first ones to show interest in my son so when he starts looking at schools he knows FSU was the first one.”

The 5-foot-7, 150-pounder will begin to do just that as he’ll be part of Florida State’s Junior Day on March 1.

“I just want to see the field (not a recruiting pun- he wants to see the field they play on at Doak Campbell Stadium),” Rashad said. “I want to meet the players and talk to Jameis Winston. I want to have fun and get the experience.” 

Last fall in 10 games, Williams rushed for 17 touchdowns.

The 13-year-old recently found out he’ll be enrolling at West Mecklenburg High this coming fall to begin his high school career. But unlike almost every other prospect, he’s already on a major college’s recruiting board before he even arrives on the prep level. 

“Its very shocking and surprising to me,” Hilton said. “I never thought colleges would show interest in my son already when he was in middle school. It's very shocking.They think my son is real good.” 

Charlotte isn’t a complete stranger to this type of early recruiting activity. Former Florida quarterback Chris Leak, at Charlotte’s Independence High, committed to Wake Forest as a ninth grader after brother C.J. signed with the Demon Deacons in the Class of 1999. The younger Leak ultimately signed with the Gators, leading them to the BCS National Championship in 2006 as a senior.

And thanks to a connection between two former Panthers, there is another young phenom already on the recruiting radar.

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