Cinque Williams art

Southlake safety Cinque Williams intercepts a pass intended for Duncanville’s Jerrale Powers last season. Williams committed to North Texas on Tuesday and later signed his national letter of intent.

Southlake Carroll safety Cinque Williams faced an uncertain future after backing out of a commitment to Hawaii in late November.

A few schools that compete on the Football Bowl Subdivision level were interested but none offered Williams a scholarship.

Fortunately for Williams, Carroll coach Riley Dodge made a few calls and helped facilitate one of his star players landing the offer he was looking for from North Texas.

Williams announced his commitment to UNT on Tuesday on his Twitter account. He will be a late addition to UNT’s 2021 recruiting class.

UNT acknowledged that Williams has signed a national letter of intent later in the afternoon.

New UNT defensive coordinator Phil Bennett recruited Williams after hearing from Dodge.

“It was coach Dodge,” Williams said of the reason he landed at UNT. “Coach Dodge has known coach Bennett for a long time and has been in constant contact with him. He told coach Bennett that I can play and that I am coachable.

“I want to thank coach Dodge and the North Texas staff for giving me a chance.”

Williams committed to Hawaii nearly a year ago before backing out of that pledge because he was uncomfortable going so far away from home for college.

He ultimately chose UNT over Hawaii and a host of schools that compete on the Football Championship Subdivision level.

The 5-foot-10, 183-pound senior was named District 4-6A’s Defensive Player of the Year last season after helping lead the Dragons to the Class 6A Division I state title game. He finished with 82 tackles, five sacks, five forced fumbles and an interception in 2020.

Williams’ performance as a senior landed him back on the recruiting radar. He played on Carroll’s junior varsity team after transferring from Mansfield Legacy in 2019.

Williams is rated as a three-star prospect by 247Sports. The website lists him at No. 163 on its list of the top safeties in the class of 2021.

Williams is the 19th high school player to join UNT’s 2021 recruiting class that is ranked second among Conference USA schools by 247Sports. He anticipates playing the nickel spot in the defense Bennett is installing this spring.

Williams plans to enroll at UNT over the summer when he will complete a long journey to finding a place to play. He credited Dodge and Bennett for helping him through the process.

“I was very happy to find some place I could go,” Williams said. “Coach Bennett reached out to me and said he would try to get me a scholarship. I had to be patient. He told me he has going to make it happen.”

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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