Lee’s Summit West running back Ryan Williams grew up in St. Louis.
His mother, Carolyn, was transferred to Kansas City for work six years ago, but Williams stayed behind with relatives and was separated from his mom during the week for two years.
“She came home every weekend, but it made me have to grow up pretty much,” Williams said.
Ryan, a three-star prospect ranked No. 9 in Missouri by Rivals, was reunited with Carolyn four years ago when he joined her in Grandview.
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As a freshman, he moved again — to Lee’s Summit — where he racked up 946 yards and 12 touchdowns on 126 carries for the Missouri Class 5 champion Titans last season, according to Lee’s Summit West’s MaxPreps page.
Williams has 30 carries for 251 yards and two touchdowns this season for undefeated Lee’s Summit West, who are No. 1 in The Star’s big-class poll.
He committed to Missouri in February.
Williams doesn’t possess elite breakaway speed, but he is blessed with incredible instincts and cutting ability that makes him an ankle-breaking, big-play force on the football field.
Williams discussed his recruitment and goals, both as he wraps up his high school career and with the Tigers, during this week Future Tigers Fridays report:
Q: What was Andy Hill’s sales pitch that convinced you to choose Missouri?
Williams: “Coach Hill is just an easy guy to talk to and he’s really outgoing. He pretty much just made me feel welcome and made me feel like they really wanted me.”
Q: Have you always been a Mizzou fan?
Williams: “Yeah, I like Mizzou, but I was a Razorbacks fan growing up. I have some family that lives down there (in Arkansas), but I was still a Mizzou fan. I would always pick Mizzou over KU when I moved (laughs).”
Q: Did Arkansas recruit you too?
Williams: “Yeah, they were recruiting me early, around the time I committed (to Missouri). Then, it slowed up after that.”
Q: Why was Columbia the place for you over Fayetteville?
Williams: “It was close to home and it was a family atmosphere. It reminded me so much of how our program (at Lee’s Summit West) is ran. All the coaches are straight up with and they’ve been there since the beginning. It was one of my first offers.”
Q: Have you wavered on your commitment since February?
Williams: “Oh, no. I’m going to stay pretty dedicated. I’m going to stay committed to the Tigers.”
Q: Missouri has a couple freshmen running backs and two more in your recruiting class, so does that concern you?
Williams: “No, it just makes me want to work harder. I talk to (Tigers freshman cornerback and former Lee’s Summit West teammate) Logan (Cheadle) all the time about playing as a true freshman. He’s like, ‘You’ve just got to work. And, if you work, they’ll see that you’re working as long as you show what you can do.’ That makes me excited to know I’ll have an opportunity, seeing that somebody else did it.”
Q: Will you try to graduate early like Cheadle did and be at Missouri for spring football?
Williams: “No. I’m going to stay back and play some basketball, since it’s my last year to play.”
Q: With several other former Lee’s Summit West players already on Missouri’s roster, does that give you a certain comfort level?
Williams: “Yeah, that makes it a lot better, knowing there’s some guys I actually played with before that will be there. They’ll make everything simpler and easier and can help me out a lot with the transition.”
Q: With the Titans off to a good start, how important is winning another state title before heading to Missouri?
Williams: “I was happy to get my college choice out of the way and be able to commit early, so I can focus on my (Lee’s Summit West) team and try to get another ring. We have a lot of new faces out on the field this year and a lot of young guys starting, so it will be tougher. They moved us up a class this year, too, but the expectations are still to go get another state ring.”
Q: Do you still consider yourself a St. Louis kid or are you a Kansas City boy now?
Williams: “I’m Kansas City now. I’ve been here a while.”
Q: Where do you fall on Chiefs/Rams and Royals/Cardinals then?
Williams: “Aw, I’m still a Cards fan. Everyone’s a Cards fan when you live in St. Louis. If you’re not a Cards fan — man, even when you leave, you’ve got to stay a Cards fan. But I don’t even like watching the NFL that much. I’m more of a college guy. It’s hard to keep up with the NFL sometimes, other than fantasy leagues.”