Former Spoto linebacker Rodney Williams, one of Hillsborough County’s top rising seniors, has transferred to Hillsborough, Terriers coach Earl Garcia confirmed Thursday by text message.
Spoto coach Dale Caparaso said Tuesday he was told Williams, the top defensive player on a steadily improving Spartans team, was transferring to Blake for “family and personal reasons." Spoto principal Clyde Trathowen corroborated that Thursday.
"The mother told me when she withdrew him that he was going to live with his father in Blake's district," Trathowen said in an e-mail to the Times.
Instead, Williams will play for neighboring Hillsborough, a popular transfer landing spot over the past few offseasons.
He’s the second former Spoto player to join the Terriers in recent days. Former running back Tim Randolph, who played for the Spartans in 2008 then transferred to Robinson last season, enrolled at Hillsborough this week.
In February, the Times ranked Williams the 14th best junior in the bay area. He has received recruiting interest from Florida, North Carolina State and USF.
The Hillsborough defense instantly becomes a lot better. Williams, who averaged 11.6 tackles and totaled three sacks last season, was the anchor of a Spartans defense that posted four shutouts and allowed only seven points in its first five games. As a sophomore, he had 105 tackles, averaging 15 stops a game, and six sacks.
As an occasional power running back, Williams also ran for 135 yards and one touchdown on 37 carries. As a sophomore, he served as Spoto’s goal-line back, scoring five rushing touchdowns on just 17 carries.
Spoto was 8-3 last season, winning a bowl game. Hillsborough was 6-4, losing in the region quarterfinals.
Times staff writer Joey Knight contributed to this report.