On the heels of a big commit from a safety, the WSU Cougars picked up their fifth commitment of the 2015 class from another Southern California kid -- Burbank running back James Williams. The news was first reported by Braulio Perez of Cougfan.com.
Williams hasn't been a big presence on the camp circuit, and as such isn't yet rated by most of the services -- Scout.com has him as a three-star prospect and the No. 56 ranked running back, but that's his only rating. Don't let that sway you into thinking that means the kid isn't all that good, though: he recently picked up offers from Arizona and Cal.
Williams has played in a Wing T in high school, generally coming out of the slot. Even though he catches a few passes from there, it appears WSU definitely is targeting him as a running back.
“Arizona had offered a few other backs so it came down to Cal and Washington State,” Williams told Greg Biggins of Scout.com. “Washington State told me I was their top guy and if I committed, they wouldn’t recruit any other backs. That was huge for me and another reason why I wanted to jump on the offer now."
It sometimes can be tough to judge Wing T kids, especially those that play out of the slot because they do so much east/west running and often have huge holes to run through. However, there's plenty in his highlights below to suggest that he's got the skills to be an excellent running back at the college level.
First, the speed is plainly obvious. But more than that, his agility and ability to shift without losing speed is excellent -- so many high school kids can get away with dancing and then running away from people, but Williams moves while continuing to press forward. He also doesn't shy away from contact, and even at a reported 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, he's able to run through some tackles.
The person he most reminds me of? Bishop Sankey when he was at Gonzaga Prep. I'm sure he's similar to a lot of guys, but in terms of guys targeted by WSU over the past half decade? That's who he reminds me of the most. Go see for yourself. And I might not be the only one. Said Biggins:
At 5-10, 180 pounds, he runs hard and is more physical than his size would dictate. He’s more quick than fast but has worked hard to improve his top end speed and is a very good looking prospect.
People said the same things about Sankey. I don't often get real effusive about recruits, but I'll be honest in how I feel about this one -- if he can add 20 pounds and maintain his speed, as Sankey did, this kid could be a monster waiting to happen.
I have a feeling WSU is going to be looking really good for getting an early commit out of Williams.
Williams is the fifth commit in the class, which already is relatively loaded with four-star recruits by WSU standards. It's an excellent start for the school coming off its first bowl game in a decade.