McDONOUGH, Ga. | For the second straight year, Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner does what he does best - closes.
McDonough (Ga.) Eagle's Landing Christian four-star defensive end Andrew Williams committed to Auburn during a ceremony at his high school on Wednesday afternoon. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Williams chose Auburn over finalists Clemson and Georgia, plus nearly 40 other college offers.
"Auburn as a school, I felt like they best could develop me as a man spiritually," Williams told AuburnSports.com. "I just followed my heart and everything about them was right. Coach Malzahn was really the one who got me. He has been recruiting me since day one and that speaks volumes to me. If a head coach is recruiting you that's says a lot.
"I called right before I walked on stage. I told Coach Garner, 'Unfortunately I will be going to your school.' He almost had a heart attack, but they were ecstatic. Coach Malzahn said that he had been praying for me all night. He knew I was coming.
"You could tell that when I said unfortunately he just stopped. He was silent. And then you could hear him let out a fresh of breath air when I finished. I told them that it was for me. They let me take all the visits I wanted. They were my first visits. They were behind me 100 percent always. The players and the coaches."
Garner was Williams' lead recruiter and for the second straight signing day, Garner lands the Tigers' talent along the defensive line. On signing day 2013, five-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams and four-star defensive end Elijah Daniel committed and signed with Auburn. Garner recruited them both.
Williams is the nation's No. 12 weakside defensive end and is Auburn's fourth defensive end commitment, joining Georgia Military College four-star DaVonte Lambert, Vigor (Ala.) Rivals250 four-star Justin Thornton and First Coast (Fla.) three-star Raashed Kennion.
Williams' father approves of his son's decision.
"I'm excited," he said. "I am very happy with the decision. I'm proud of him. He is going to do well. I'm more proud of him because not just what he has accomplished. He knows what he is going into it and he is going into it with the right frame of mind. He is humbled. He knows he has to learn a lot and be stable. I think he will do well with that frame of mind."
Williams is also the second high-profile defensive lineman in Auburn's 2014 class from the state of Georgia. Carrollton (Ga.) Rivals250 four-star Dontavius Russell flipped from Georgia earlier in the process. Garner played with Russell's uncle at Auburn in the 1980's and was instrumental in landing Russell.
Williams visited Auburn twice last summer, multiple times last fall and officially visited Auburn in January. Williams followed his Auburn visit with trips to Clemson and Georgia.
Stay tuned to AuburnSports.com for more on Williams' decision.