Glen Burnie junior quarterback Keith Williams is emerging fast as one of the top three-sport athletes in Anne Arundel County high school history.
More importantly, he's a "yes sir, no sir young man, a credit to the school and someone the students look up to," says his basketball coach, Mike Rudd. Williams has started for Rudd since the ninth grade and was chosen second-team All County last year.
Williams, the starting right fielder as a freshman on the Gophers' first state championship baseball team, has developed into a pro-baseball prospect as an outfielder under coach and athletic director Bruce Sider.
Sider, also a Kansas City Royals' scout, moved Williams to center last spring and he batted .389 with six doubles, three triples, a homer, 19 runs, 20 RBIs and was All-County.
During the summer, Williams made the Junior Olympic 16-and-under team by impressing pro and college scouts with the Carroll County Cardinals in Arizona. He was a standout later with his instincts, quick bat and strong arm on the showcase Junior Olympic team in Houston.
A dying breed in this era of specialization, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Williams in his own words "loves the grind."
Glen Burnie, 1-19 over the last two seasons in football, is 0-2 so far this year, but dramatically improved with Williams, who epitomizes the run-and-shoot attack and has the Gophers near a breakthrough.
In two heartbreaking losses, by 28-26 to defending 4A East region champion Severna Park (1-1) and 27-26 to Arundel (1-1), Williams has run for nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns, and passed for over 400 yards and four touchdowns.
"Keith was unbelievable in the Arundel loss, " said Gophers football coach Brad Wilson, the defensive coordinator of 1994 4A State Champion North County.
Wilson moved Williams to quarterback in Game 8 last fall after the latter didn't play as a freshman.
Williams, an All-County defensive back/receiver last season, completed 19-of-28 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns while running for 176 including a 60-yard touchdown scamper that put the Gophers within a point of Arundel with 21seconds left.
His conversion pass to Donnie White was at first ruled good for apparent victory, but then nullified.
"That was tough, but we have to learn to finish, " said Williams, whose TD pass to B. J. Wells the week before gave the Gophers the lead over Severna Park by 26-21 in the final minutes only to lose it in the last 18 seconds.
Williams' coaches believe he has the potential to be All-County in all three sports his final two years of high school. That is unheard of.
Combining strength and speed, bench pressing 230 pounds, deadlifting over 500 pounds, and running the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, Williams is carrying on a family tradition.
"Keith is part of a long family line of great athletes who have gone through Glen Burnie," said Rudd.
Among the county's greatest athletes Tony Dailey, who played during the 70's and is regarded by many as the best to ever come out of Glen Burnie, is Williams' uncle. Dailey's son, Desmond, was a Gophers standout in the mid-90's and is a cousin.
Tony Dailey's sisters, Tammy and Donna Dailey, were also Gopher athletes, and the latter is Williams' mom.
Williams, who has a 3.0 grade-point average, hopes to pursue the computer field in college and play baseball, the sport he calls his "first love."
"But he should have other choices as well, " said Wilson. "He's a special athlete and humble young man."