IOWA CITY, Iowa - Xavior Williams weighted multiple factors in looking for a new football home. He sought a place that fit him as a person and student-athlete, and one that could develop him as a player.
The most important piece of the puzzle, however, was family.
"The biggest thing for me when I was deciding on where I will compete my last year was distance. I have a two-year-old daughter, and being away from her and my family would have been very hard for me. I told that to each team that I talked to and they understood. They were all patient with me," Williams told HN.
Ultimately, Williams, a Burlington (IA) Notre Dame graduate, chose Iowa after entering the transfer portal following four years at the University of Northern Iowa. He also reported scholarship offers from Kansas State, N.C. State, Arkansas State and Nevada.
Williams (5-11, 190) earned second-team all-Missouri Valley Conference honors in 2019. He recorded an interception and was credited with 13 pass breakups.
When the MVC announced it was postponing the fall football back in mid-August, Williams entered the transfer portal in hopes of finding a program that was playing in the fall. He didn't have enough time to find a new home.
"It sucked not being able to play and compete this year. Everyday I prepared for a season leading up to when we officially canceled our season. The same day we canceled our season, I got in the portal to try and compete this fall but I didn’t think it would have been the right move for me at the time," he said.
Williams visited Iowa during the recruiting process and received some cursory interest. That relationship didn't factor a lot into his recent decision.
"I remember talking to some of the coaches when I was in high school, but I chose Iowa because of how close I could be to my family and because of the work they do to send players to the NFL, especially at DB. I’m excited to work with coach (Phil) Parker and the rest of the Iowa staff and the players there," he said.
The staff has told Williams he'll line up at cornerback with safety also a possibility. He played corner his first two seasons at UNI before sliding over to free safety as a junior.
"My main goal is to help Iowa win football games. I personally just want to be able to compete for a starting spot and play and get a chance at the next level," he said.
Williams is acquainted with members of the team. He also shares mutual friends with some of them. He looks forward forming new bonds after doing the same in Cedar Falls.
"I learned a lot from UNI. They made me into the player I am today and I’m thankful for them. This wasn’t an easy decision, but talking to people close to me they supported my decision and want what’s best for me. I’m excited to be a Hawkeye and ready to get to work," he said.