Central-Phenix City Red Devils E.J. Williams

Central-Phenix City wide receiver E.J. Williams stands outside Jordan-Hare Stadium after Big Cat Weekend on Saturday, June 1.

For the last few years, Central-Phenix City wide receiver E.J. Williams has been looked at as a player following in Justyn Ross’ footsteps. This week, the rising senior Williams achieved something that Ross also accomplished during his time as a Red Devil.

Williams was one of the many top recruits in the nation to participate in Nike’s The Opening finals in Frisco, Texas, from June 30 to July 3. The multi-day event featured dynamic training, coaching and competition involving rising seniors that colleges across the country are clamoring for.

Per 247 Sports, Williams had nine receptions and two touchdowns during his competition time.

Williams’ mother, Vontrelle, couldn’t praise the latest experience for her son enough.

“The Opening was just amazing,” Vontrelle said. “Just for him to be able to be there with his peers (was special), and that time frame they were there allowed them to get closer. Even though some things were a competition, they all wanted to see each other do well, which was great.”

Williams answered a lot of questions about his ability in 2018, when he stepped up as the Red Devils’ top receiver. Williams reeled in 40 receptions for 668 yards and eight touchdowns and put an exclamation mark on Central’s state championship game against Thompson, scoring on a 24-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter of the Red Devils’ 52-7 victory.

Williams’ big-play ability has caught the attention of schools throughout the United States. He narrowed his choices down to seven teams back in May, leaving Florida, Clemson, Auburn, Tennessee, Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma as the final schools standing.

Central head coach Jamey DuBose has seen Williams’ talent up close on a daily basis, and he wasn’t a bit surprised that the 6-foot-3 receiver was able to turn heads out in Texas.

"For E.J., it's huge. Anytime as a player you get an opportunity to be at one of those events, it's an honor," DuBose said. "There's a lot of work that goes into getting out there and a lot of God-given talent, and he's got both. He went out there and did well. You get to kind of see what you're like compared to all the other top athletes in the country."

Here’s a look at some of the other local athletes and what they’ve been up to in the last week:


Softball player Desalynn Nesbitt committed to Chattahoochee Valley Community College.

Offensive tackle Mason Cook received a new offer from Culver-Stockton College.

Safety Terrell Gordon has received an invitation to the Elite Raw Talent All-America Bowl in Atlanta in December.


Athlete Aaron Fields has received an invitation to the Elite Raw Talent All-America Bowl.


Offensive lineman James Dawson visited the University of West Florida.

Wide receiver Omar Holloway has received an invitation to the Elite Raw Talent All-America Bowl.

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