Before Tristan Gebbia or Adrian Martinez or Patrick O’Brien or whoever wins Nebraska’s quarterback job has a chance to throw to Dominick Watt and Miles Jones, a pair of 3-star signees in the Huskers 2018 recruiting class, there exists a quarterback in South Florida who’s already connected with both.
That would be Steve Williams, a Hollywood, Fla., native and former Miramar standout. There, he and Watt teamed up for a 9-2 senior campaign and district title. But rewind to pee-wee football, and that’s when Williams and Jones first teamed up. The two have known each other since both started playing football, which was around 2005, Williams estimates.
“We grew up together,” Williams said.
Jones is a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native and attended American Heritage, about a half-hour drive from Miramar. He and Williams played together about five years in the youth ranks before going separate ways on the field.
“Even after we stopped playing together,” Williams said, “we still kept a close relationship. That’s a very close friend of mine.”
When Jones became a sought-after prospect, Williams was still keeping close tabs on him.
“It was exciting,” Williams said. “He was always capable of doing stuff like that. So it wasn’t really surprising to see him doing big things like that. I’m happy for him.”
Like the Nebraska coaching staff, Williams thinks Jones will fit nicely into the Huskers offense. The plan is for Jones to operate out of the backfield and also as a slot receiver.
“He’s versatile,” Williams said. “I think he can do about anything they ask him to do.”
Jones and Watt only knew of each other (they’d been on the same 7-on-7 team briefly, but Jones left because of track obligations) prior to both committing to Nebraska. As fate would have it, they both committed on the same day, Jan. 18. Williams became the natural conduit for the two to connect, and they’ve started building a relationship now that they’re heading to Lincoln together.
Watt and Williams only played together for one season, when Watt transferred into Miramar for the final year of high school. At first, Williams couldn’t find the proper word to describe what it was like throwing to Watt.
“He’s a man-child on the field,” Williams said. “He makes everybody look like little kids around him.”
The best example Williams can think of is during Miramar’s matchup against Plantation. Williams hit Watt on a 5-yard hitch. What transpired next was three stiff-arms and a 35-yard dash to the end zone.
Williams said that Watt’s large catch radius is a quarterback’s dream.
“As a quarterback, you always want the ball [to be] perfect,” Williams said. “Sometimes, with circumstances going on around you, it’s not always going to be that way. Him having a wide catch radius made it a lot easier for me to make a play.
“Sometimes, you just throw it up and hope he makes a play. His hands are like suction cups. As soon as the ball hits his hands, he rarely drops it.”
In Williams’ opinion, Watt’s best routes are either a slant or a go.
“He has enough speed to be able to stretch a defense,” Williams said. “And if you need to hit him underneath, like I said, he has suction cups for hands, so he’s going to catch the ball.”
Williams himself will continue his football career at Central Connecticut State, a FCS school. He’s been recruited as a quarterback and has his sights set on a finance degree, too. Williams met Huskers outside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Jovan Dewitt during the recruiting process, but never really became involved with the staff while they were at UCF.
And maybe one fall Saturday in the future, when Central Connecticut isn’t playing, Williams will flip on the television, see Jones and Watt hauling in passes for the Huskers, and realize he had at least a small part in helping them both reach that point.