Northern Nash’ David Williams doesn’t do anything special on the baseball field.
He doesn’t hit home runs or dominate the basepaths. All Williams does is work hard, show up early and leave late.
One ACC school noticed at a recent camp and offered Williams an official roster spot. As soon as Williams, who is the Northern Nash High School valedictorian, is accepted to Duke, he’ll be on the baseball team as a full member of Duke's 2013 recruiting class, as well.
“I value work ethic above any level of talent,” Williams said. “There’s a saying, ‘Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.’ I believe that with all my heart.”
Williams has played shortstop and second base while at Northern Nash, but he grew up behind the plate – something he fell in love with the first time he put on catcher’s equipment. That’s the position Duke expects him to play.
Williams attended a weekend camp, which included two games, earlier this month at Duke. There, he said he had the best workout of his baseball career. Last Thursday, Williams was called back to Duke by coach Chris Pollard.
Williams was expecting to be asked to come back again to workout – if anything. Instead, he received some surprising news.
“I was shocked that they showed so much interest,” said Williams, who will apply to Duke by Nov. 1, the application deadline.
Northern Nash baseball coach Eddie Loesner has mentored his fair share of talented players. He has coached players that have been drafted – East Carolina pitcher Tyler Joyner, twice – and players who currently star in college – Jeremy Lucas at Barton College and Tyler Clark at N.C. Wesleyan.
But Williams earning a spot on Duke’s roster means a lot to him.
“This one is extra special to me,” said Loesner, who said he is proud of all his players. “It’s a classic example of will over skill. This kid comes early and stays late every day. He works his butt off. His family has supported him. They’ve just been all in from the moment they stepped on campus. It just goes to show you that anything is possible if you show up every day and come to work to get better.”
Duke was Williams preferred school even without baseball. Pollard told Williams that there’s a good chance he’ll be admitted under early decision. Playing baseball in one of the top conferences in the country was just “icing on the cake.”
Along with baseball, Williams saw Duke as a total package, including academics.
There’s no doubt the school will be able to provide Williams with what he wants, but Loesner thinks Williams will be able to provide something, too.
“He’s going to make them a better team,” Loesner said. “Before it’s all said and done, he’s going to contribute to their success. ... Whatever you tell him to do, he’s going to do it to the best of his ability. That’s why I’m so proud of him.”