Marcus Williams knew.

When Williams started talking to TCU, he got a feeling he'd have an eventual home in Fort Worth. The more he talked to the Horned Frogs' staff, the more in love he fell with the university.

He committed in March, took his official visit a week ago and, unless something changes drastically between now and December, plans to sign with them during the early signing period. He is even contemplating an early graduation so he can get on campus sooner.

"I love the people around there," Williams said. "It’s got a base to it. The people there have been there for 20 years and they’re not going anywhere. I don’t want to go and join anywhere else. It's proven. They’re winning. Everything is perfect."

Williams (6-5, 285), an offensive lineman for the Lobos, spent most of this past season sidelined with a left ankle injury. He watched as Longview advanced to the semifinals, falling 28-26 to Waco Midway. He believes if the Lobos would have won if they weren't riddled with injuries.

“It was real hard," he said. "A lot of us were injured last year. Not being able to be there to help and being stopped in the fifth round really sucks to watch when you know you or anybody could have been a big help.”

Williams said he didn't lose much strength during the injury and was still a regular in the weight room.

The Lobos return plenty from their core group of players in 2017. Williams, quarterback Haynes King, receiver Kamden Perry, running back Jessie Anderson and defensive back Jephaniah Lister all return. The biggest losses are on defense, where DB Jalen Carr and several defensive lineman are gone.

Still, expectations are high for Longview entering 2018. Williams hears the chatter among fans and notices the coaches pushing harder than usual in summer workouts.

"Everyone knows that, ‘Y’all are going to win and y’all need to win because y’all can,’" he said. "Last year, a lot of people were doubting us. We might make it. Now, it’s just there. Our coaches are working us harder than I’ve ever had to work before in Longview."

Williams is used to working harder, though. He has always been a big kid and likely could have gotten away with slacking off in practice. But it's something his father wouldn't allow.

"Me being big, he’s tried to put it in my head that I’m not what I think I am," Williams said. "I’m going to be going up against people bigger than me or as big as me (in college). I’m not gonna always be the big kid. I want to think of it as, ‘I’ve got to work just as hard as this little guy to be able to do whatever.’ I’ve got to be better than him. Not just bigger.”

Williams admits that injuries have been tough for him throughout his career. In addition to his ankle injury, he's also dealt with a torn hamstring in the past. Plenty of people have told him to give up football, but he couldn't imagine it.

In spite of how difficult sitting out last year was, Williams said he it forced him to become a better teammate. He'll carry those lessons with him into this season.

“I’m definitely not a super player," he said. "My team doesn’t need me. That’s one thing that I learned. No one needs you at all. I’ll take that through my whole entire life. I need to not be too full of myself and stay humble.”

East Texas 25 Class of 2019