There was flirting from the other side, and Jamyest Williams admitted to being swayed by it.
But he knew what he was doing in August, and he stayed that way throughout the madcap final month of recruiting season.
Committed. To South Carolina.
“Every time I was at Georgia, I enjoyed it,” Williams said Wednesday, after drawing his recruitment out to the final second. “But I think the best fit for me is to get away and find myself as a man, and that’s South Carolina.”
Grayson High had 18 players sign on Wednesday, and 16 had already named their choice. But each would still have their own opportunity for a photo, and Williams was last alphabetically, so why not milk the drama some more?
His congratulatory banner had USC and Georgia logos. USC fans were nervous when they noticed the “G” of Grayson’s Rams is the same as Georgia’s, and boy, were they nervous when Williams placed two hats on the table.
To the right, a garnet USC cap that looked like something purchased in a gas station. The left, shiny silver chrome with the Georgia (Grayson) G on it.
Yet he never touched the Georgia cap, saying a few words and then ramming the garnet gap on his head. It matched his gray jacket and black slacks much better than the silver one, anyway.
“I feel like I’m going to go there and build as a man and an athlete, also,” Williams said. “It was tough. It was one of the hardest decisions I made to leave Georgia, but I enjoyed the process.”
So ended a nail-chewing three-week process where Williams visited Georgia and USC, entertained coach Kirby Smart at his school a couple of times and declared his silence from interviews. Having already lost Hamsah Nasirildeen, USC couldn’t afford to lose another dynamic prospect, but Muschamp always felt confident because USC had the date of Williams’ final visit.
It was there, surrounded by Dante Sawyer and Bryson Allen-Williams (“Big Brother Bryson,” Williams calls him) that Williams told Muschamp not to worry. He was coming. There would be no alternative fax.
“Jam is a guy who is talented in a lot of ways,” Muschamp said. “The guy is close to a 40-inch vertical leap. He has great ball skills and judgment down the field to finish on plays. The guy is really special with the ball in his hands.”
The hope for Muschamp is he landed a recruit in the same vein of Stephon Gilmore, a player everybody wanted who ignored the biggest names to come to Columbia. Gilmore, besides being an outstanding player, opened the door for many other high-profile recruits to look USC’s way.
Williams, as Muschamp said, is extremely versatile and could leap right into the starting rotation next year. The Gamecocks need defenders after losing several, and a shutdown cornerback in today’s game is invaluable.
Williams’ choice mimicks his game. The silver hat was bypassed in favor of understated. Substance, not sizzle.
Although he has plenty of each.
Staff writer Josh Kendall contributed to this story.
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