By LARRY VAUGHT
If you read what Anthony Williams had to say about his son, Jarren, last week, it should not have been a huge surprise that he recommitted to Kentucky this week.
The talented Georgia junior quarterback was UK’s first commit in the 2018 class before deciding about three weeks ago he might want to take other visits and decommitted.
But Anthony Williams said even then that his son still had UK No. 1 on his recruiting list and the way Kentucky fans reacted to his decommitment impressed the family.
“Kentucky fans have been good to Jarren. Even when decommitted, only a few fans were negative. They handle it with respect and dignity. I think Jarren remembers that,” Anthony Williams said. “Give him an opportunity to work through the process. The relationship he built with Kentucky coaches, fans and players will go a long way for him. He still says Kentucky is No. 1, so I think Kentucky is still in the driver’s seat.”
Not surprisingly, he was right and that is huge for Kentucky. Last year UK lost Florida quarterback Mac Jones to Alabama after he originally had committed to Kentucky. Many fans feared the same would happen with Williams.
Others worried when Georgia offered a scholarship after his decommitment and after Alabama had offered. The Bulldogs, though, had waited way too long to offer an in-state star for reasons I never understood — and I am sure Jarren Williams and his family did not either.
“He is one of the better quarterbacks here in Georgia but they have never promoted him. Tried to keep him undiscovered, never got lot of press,” Anthony Williams said. “Georgia offered three quarterbacks in Georgia and 12 outside Georgia before they offered Jarren.”
Why? He threw for 2,618 yards and 26 scores last season with four interceptions and ran for 396 yards and nine scores in 11 games. He did not throw an interception until the eighth game of the season.
“A lot of schools came to see Jarren and evaluate him,” Anthony said. “Sometimes schools just look at a kid’s ranking. He was ranked a mid-three star. A kid that is four stars or five stars gets more looks and early offers. With Jarren, they had to come see him to understand how good he was. Georgia did not realize what kind of player he was.”
Florida receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis committed to Kentucky in large part because of Williams. He was stunned when Williams changed his mind about coming to UK because they were scheduled to room together. He’s glad to have his quarterback back in the Kentucky fold.
“When ever you have a player the caliber of Jarren, it's a plus to have him aboard,” Jacques-Louis said Monday. “Very talented guy, with even a better personality so who wouldn't want to room with a person like that. That's my Kentucky 18 brother.”
Did he know Williams was going to commit to UK again?
“No, I didn't know. I just let him enjoy his recruitment process,” Jacques-Louis said.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops and his staff did the same thing. They did not over react to his decision three weeks ago. Recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow and quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw made a trip to Georgia to see Williams and his family. Obviously they had the right answers.
I think it took courage for Williams to decommit because he wanted to be “up front and transparent” according to his father with the UK coaches. He did not want to “blindside” the UK staff by taking a trip to another school.
It may have taken even more courage to commit to UK again so quickly. To make sure UK fans understood his decisions, Jarren Williams went on Kentucky Sports Radio to explain his recommitment Monday. Not every player would do that, but he did.
“I am just glad he’s back,” Ohio junior defensive lineman Alex Reigelsperger, another UK commit, said after knowing for almost two weeks that Williams was back on board with UK.
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