30 NJ Players to Watch: Austin Williams
MSG Varsity counts down the top 30 New Jersey athletes to watch, in no particular order, for the upcoming school year. Today, we highlight No. 28, Delbarton boys lacrosse star Austin Williams.
Austin Williams began the 2012 season as an unknown commodity at the faceoff position for Delbarton.
That's certainly not the way the season ended.
Williams was the face-off, get-off (FOGO) man for the JV team as a sophomore and tucked behind a junior starter on varsity. The quest to scratch out varsity reps in 2012 would be an uphill climb from that all-important spot in the middle of the field.
The powerfully built junior devoted himself to a rigorous strength and conditioning program in the off-season and frequently consulted with former Rochester Institute of Technology and Rochester Rattlers FOGO Jerry Ragonese on the finer points of the craft. Williams entered the '12 campaign fully transformed from overlooked to overpowering.
When the season began Williams had not received an offer to play in college. Before it ended he had given a verbal to Harvard and had people throughout the state talking about Delbarton's excellent FOGO.
Williams was brilliant in the circle from the opening game against Ridgewood to the Tournament of Champions final against Bridgewater-Raritan, where he claimed 14 of 19 draws in Delbarton's 11-5 loss. Williams won 8 of 10 in the semifinals three days earlier to spur a 5-1 win over Summit and was 10 of 15 in a 9-2 victory over Montclair Kimberley in the Non-Public A championship.
Delbarton's challenging schedule helped Williams' reputation spread quickly as he routinely outmatched better known FOGOs game after game. So too did the manner in which he conducted his business. If he was not quicker than his opponent, he could almost surely overpower them. People took notice of that impressive combination.
Williams won 78 percent of his faceoffs and collected 208 ground balls this past spring to earn a spot on the All-MSG Varsity Tristate First Team and All-America recognition. He represented New Jersey earlier this month at the Under Armour All-American Classic for Underclassmen in Towson, Md.
Visit MSGVarsity.com each weekday this summer as we unveil the next athlete on our Players to Watch list. For the complete list, click here.
Mike Kinney covers boys lacrosse for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKinneyHS