Running back James Williams was one of the early commitments in WSU's 2015 recruiting class and on Wednesday he made it official when he sent in a signed letter of intent. Williams has long-been the only running back committed in the class, even with WSU chasing other targets leading up to signing day.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Williams was a supremely productive player leading into his senior season. He'd set or approached several records and appeared on his way to an even better season before he tore his ACL and MCL in September. The Cougars honored Williams' scholarship offer and Williams honored his commitment. Williams is a consensus 3-star prospect and could have been ranked even higher had his senior season not been derailed. Utah, Arizona and California were among the other schools that offered.
Where Williams fits into the picture next season likely depends on the status of his injured knee. Williams had surgery in November. Recovery from knee injuries can very with some taking up to a year to fully heal. WSU is lacking running back depth in a big way with just Gerard Wicks and Jamal Morrow the only scholarship running backs. If Williams is healthy, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in the mix as the No. 3 running back competing for playing time. If not, he'll have a redshirt year to continue to rehab his knee and get back to 100 percent.
Brian Anderson's quick evaluation:
Great north-south runner, one cut and go type of kid. Hits holes inside hard, runs upfield with authority. Not necessarily a bruiser, just a physical runner with great speed and a knack for hitting the crease in a defense. Displayed some fantastic hands from the slot. He's coming off an injury his senior year, but has a great upside in the offense. A lot of his runs came from single-back, shotgun, inside zones. Pass blocking shouldn't be an issue with his physicality.
Rivals - ★★★
Scout - ★★★
27/7 Sports - ★★★
Composite - ★★★
Position - RB
Hometown - Burbank, Calif.
Height - 5-foot-11
Weight - 185 pounds