Naruto Uzumaki is 5-foot-6, 110 pounds. Johnny Williams IV is 6-foot-7, 315 pounds.
While Naruto, the fictional protagonist of the popular anime series Naruto, worked to become the greatest ninja in the world while Williams is working to be the best offensive lineman in the world. There aren’t too many similarities between the two, but Naruto’s dedication and perseverance in the quest to reach his goal is something that Williams relates to on a personal level.
“You know how in Naruto, his storyline is how he grew up a fighter,” Williams told WV Sports Now. “He didn’t have his parents or anything, it was really just his tale on how he pushed himself to be better.”
An interest in anime, Naruto specifically, as evidenced by his Twitter header, is just one thing that people might not know about Williams. He’s a jokester, a people person and someone who loves the game of football. OK, that last one may not be all that surprising considering he’s one of West Virginia’s newest commits.
Williams, a huge offensive tackle from Northeast High School in Macon, Georgia, committed to West Virginia on June 28, following a June 23-25 visit that really showed him that Morgantown was where he was meant to be.
With offers from Alabama State, Arizona State, Connecticut, Duke, Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, Jackson State, Louisville, North Carolina State, Oregon, Syracuse and Virginia, Williams’ official visit was completely different than any other atmosphere he experienced.
“My mindset was that (WVU) really wanted me, that was I going to be able to be a great player but a person as well,” Williams said, on pre-visit expectations. “But the visit changed it to a family feeling, and I felt like I needed to be there. I really felt like that I was home.”
— Johnny Williams IV (@Jay_WilliamsIV) June 26, 2022
It was the atmosphere, but also the people, the players and the coaches — the whole package — that stood out from other schools. WVU felt like home.
In the days and weeks since his commitment, Williams hasn’t felt any different. He’s still on the same grind, he’s still working to shock the world, but he is happy. He’s just happy with West Virginia. But now comes the offseason that will not only help his senior season at Northeast but his eventual arrival in Morgantown.
“(I want to) get stronger in the weight room, improve upon my technique and get better leadership-wise,” Williams said. “I’m a good leader, but just get better as I get into college.
“I can push my teammates and all the other freshmen to get better, get good at pushing them to push themselves to get better.”
When it comes to Northeast, coming off a 9-4 season and trip to the quarterfinals in Georgia’s Class-2A playoffs, the team lost a lot of seniors. The loss is one that could cripple a younger team, but Williams is dedicated to pushing both his fellow upperclassmen and underclassmen to work. This summer, in training camp before the season and into the season itself.
It doesn’t just stop on the field though. He wants to push his peers to be better on the field, but he wants them to be better people as well. To better themselves in all facets.
“What makes me a leader is how I can push people to be good,” Williams said. “I really care for people, them outside of football. I really want everyone to be great besides me. I want me to be great, but I want people around me to be great.”
And once Williams makes it to Morgantown, his desired impact isn’t just in the locker room. He wants to be a leader in the community and beyond.
247Sports rates Williams as the 551st-ranked recruit in the class (30th-ranked offensive tackle and 40th-ranked recruit in Georgia) while On3 rates him as the 547th-ranked recruit in the class (41st-ranked offensive tackle and 52nd-ranked recruit from Georgia). Rivals rates him as the 70th-ranked offensive tackle and the 65th-ranked recruit from Georgia — holding a 5.7 Rivals Rating.