Terrebonne's Williams continues to shine
Tue. July 03, 2012 at 4:59 p.m. | By Chris Singleton/Staff Writer
Terrebonne High's Justin Williams is considered one of the top prep baseball recruits of the Class of 2013. (Photo by File)
If you check out any major national prep baseball recruiting websites or magazines, it is likely that you'll find the name of Terrebonne High's Justin Williams listed somewhere in those pages.
Williams, who is entering his senior season at Terrebonne, has become one of the nation's top prep baseball recruits of the Class of 2013.
He is ranked as the No. 4 overall national high school baseball product by www.perfectgame.org, and an April 13 ESPN.com recruiting article ranked him as the third-best outfielder in nation for the Class of 2013.
Williams said he is proud of all the national recognition he has received so far.
"It makes me feel great," Williams said. "It makes me feel like all my hard work is being paid off. I hope I can continue to work hard and do good things."
Williams, a LSU baseball commit, has displayed his talents in recent months by playing in several summer showcases with his travel club in Baton Rouge-based Marucci Elite. He will play in several national tournaments, including the 2012 Perfect Game All-American Classic at PETCO Park in San Diego on Aug. 12.
He is also preparing to participate in the Under Armour All-America Game at legendary Wrigley Field in Chicago at 12:30 p.m. Aug. 18. The prestigious game will feature 36 of the best prep baseball players in the nation, and it will be televised nationally by MLB Network.
Williams said it will be an opportunity of a lifetime to play at the famous Chicago Cubs' ballpark.
"It's going to be pretty sweet playing on Wrigley Field at 16 years old," Williams said. "Not too many people get to do that. It's an honor."
While he continues to top recruiting boards and play in major baseball showcase games, Williams said the attention hasn't changed the type of person he is.
"It has really been exciting," Williams said. "The attention is great, but I'm just staying humble."
Terrebonne coach Gus Brown said it is good to have a local player of Williams' caliber.
"Justin has brought a lot of exposure," Brown said. "Whenever you hear the name Justin Williams, you hear Terrebonne High School and Houma written next to his name."
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Williams is coming off another stellar season at Terrebonne. As a junior, he was one of the area's best hitters with a .519 average, eight home runs, nine doubles, two triples, 25 RBIs and a .637 on-base percentage.
Brown said Williams is a student of the game who spends most of his time working to improve his skills. After all, being an athlete runs in his blood. His father, Michael Sr., was a standout athlete at Terrebonne in the 1980s, and his older brother, Michael Jr., currently plays at Meridian Community College in Meridian, Miss.
"Justin is an exceptional athlete," Brown said. "He puts in a lot of hard work with the strength, speed and power that he has. He has a great eye for the ball. They have a lot of guys who can swing, but they don't have many that could put the bat on the ball the way he does."
Williams plays infield at Terrebonne, but he is projected as an outfielder in college or beyond. He said one of his goals this summer was to continue to improve at all positions.
"I'm just starting to get used to the outfield," Williams said. "I'm just trying to do my best at whatever position my coach needs me to play."
Brown said Williams can standout at any position on the field.
"It really doesn't matter to him," Brown said. "He has no preference. He does whatever he needs to do to help the team out. In the past, he has played center field, and he can pitch a little bit. He brings a lot of competitiveness, leadership and team camaraderie to the table."
Williams verbally committed to play college baseball at LSU during his junior year at Terrebonne. He said he plans to stick to that commitment, even though there is a good chance he could hear his name called during the Major League Baseball draft next year.
Williams said he will discuss his future plans with his family when that time comes, but as for now, he's planning to join one of the country's top college baseball programs at LSU.
"It's a very good baseball program," he said. "It's a winning school. That's a place where I want to be."
After completing his busy summer season, Williams said he will shift his attention to his senior season at Terrebonne. He decided not to play football for the Tigers and will play only baseball as a senior.
Terrebonne's baseball team went 13-16 overall last season and failed to make the playoffs.
As one of three seniors returning to the team next year, Williams said he is ready to step up and help guide his team to success.
"I want to become more of a leader on the field," Williams said. "I'm going to be a senior, and we have a lot of young guys on the field. My goal is to be a leader, stay humble, play hard, and I hope we can win a district championship."