Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011
Posted: 11:55 a.m.

By Taylor
It is generally agreed that it is virtually impossible for a blue-chip athlete to compete in football and basketball at a major Division I college due to the overlapping seasons and the demands of both high-profile sports.

Can you name one?

The short but distinguished list includes two Heisman Trophy winners: Terry Baker of Oregon State in 1962 and Charlie Ward of Florida State in 1993. It also includes two Olympians: Charlie Hoag of Oak Park and Kansas in 1952 and Quinn Buckner of Thornridge and Indiana in 197; also Jesse Arnelle of Penn State in 1954 and Matt Trannon of Michigan State in 2007.

Anyone else?

Tim Williams hopes to beat the odds.

Williams, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound senior at Homewood-Flossmoor, is a quarterback in a spread offense whom coach Craig Buzea predicts "has the ability to be another Cam Newton." Last season, he passed for 2,116 yards and 21 touchdowns for a team that went from 1-8 to a 10-3 state semifinalist. But due to lack of exposure, he has no scholarship offers.

In basketball, Williams is rated as the No. 7 prospect in Illinois' class of 2012, according to one scouting service. Last season, he averaged 12 points and six rebounds for a 23-5 Class 4-A sectional semifinalist. He is being recruited as a small forward. He has 10 scholarship offers, including Northern Illinois, Bowling Green, Indiana State and Drake.

"It bothers me that I don't have any offers in football," Williams said.

"I understand that I haven't gone to camps and haven't got much exposure. Until this year, I was concentrating mostly on basketball. My choice? I wouldn't want to give up either sport. I would like to play both sports at the highest level I can. I love them both. It would be hard to choose one over the other."


Credit Buzea for stirring Williams' interest in football. He coached at Portage, (Ind.) for 14 years, then moved to Michigan City, Ind. for three years before being hired last year to rejuvenate the H-F program. He went 10-3 last season and is just beginning to use his entire playbook.

"I was ready for a change," said Bueza, a native of Griffith, Ind. "Illinois football had intrigued me with its playoff situation. I wanted to broaden my horizons."

"I was familiar with the H-F program. In 1994, my first year at Portage, we went to the state title game in Indiana, the same year that H-F won the state title in Illinois. I was intrigued by H-F's talent pool and its potential. I knew they could turn it around."

Williams was impressed. All of a sudden, thanks to Buzea, football was fun again.

"He changed our attitude, our approach to new things, more discipline, more punctuality, more team concept," Williams said. "He talked to me. He said he liked what he saw on film. He ran the same type of offense, the same plays. Everybody started to feel good about football again."

H-F, ranked No. 6 in the Chicago area, crushed Senn 76-6 in its opener, then trounced Deerfield 47-0 last Friday. The Vikings play at Lincoln-Way Central on Friday night in a Southwest Suburban Blue matchup. Against Deerfield, Williams completed 11 of 15 passes for 260 yards and four touchdowns in the first half.

"He is a football player," Buzea said. "He is not as smooth as pure passers but he is as accurate as any thrower I've been around. The game moves in slow motion for him. He understands the game. He makes all the throws. His upside is tremendous.

Because he has played so much basketball in the summer, he has barely touched the surface of what he can do in football. He is more serious about football than he was a year ago."

Because Williams is concentrating on leading his football team to the state championship, he said the recruiting process will resume after the season. He wants to re-evaluate his stature after the football season, to see if he has any offers. Then he will arrange for campus visits. Duke and UCLA in basketball and Miami (Fla.) in football have always been his favorites.

He hopes they will invite him to make a visit.

"I used to think I was better in basketball," Williams said. "But after last year, I realized I have talent in football. Now I take both sports more seriously. Some say I am a basketball player but when they come to a football game, they think I'm a football player."