All Jameson Williams had to do to recognize his plight was look at the most obvious category on the Ohio State Statistics. In the 2021 season, he caught nine passes. It didn’t matter how much these receptions involved or how many touchdowns they produced, or even that the team’s last season was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic and suppressed its numbers. He was a wide receiver who did not see football or field.
In fact, it didn’t matter that his playing time was limited by the presence of veteran Chris Olave and Williams’ classmate Garrett Wilson, because Olave’s decision to return for the last season meant little that the situation was likely to change.
“I just felt it was time for me to decide for myself,” Williams told Sporting News.
And that time came at a happy time in the 152-year history of college football. NCAA rules have been changed to allow athletes in income sports who transfer from school to compete immediately rather than serve their usual “year of residence” before becoming eligible. And the school where he wanted to play, Alabama, lost the Heisman Trophy winner, who played Williams’ position, and another so talented that he became the first Crimson Tide player to be selected in the NFL 2021 draft.
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That’s why it might make perfect sense for Williams to leave a superpower like Ohio State for an even more successful program and become a world-class All-American Sporting News and a major player in Tide’s quest for the second championship in a row. which will be determined Monday night at the College Football Playoff Championship match against the SEC rival of Georgia.
Williams’ experience confirmed a long campaign led by sports activists and university sports analysts to allow all Division I athletes to race immediately after the transfer.
“I’ll be on the player’s side all the time,” said Sporting News analyst Adam Gorney of Rivals.com. “When you are such an elite athlete, the really worst thing you can do for your skills and development is to sit on the sidelines for a year. You will get lost. Either you lose interest – and another thing that people don’t want to talk about is that the coach picks you up while you’re sitting.
“There’s no guarantee that if Jameson Williams resigns and has to resign next year, Alabama won’t go looking for another Jameson Williams who just wants to get on the field and doesn’t have to sit for a year.” . This is a perfect example of leaving school and finding another school was perfect for him and his game and his future. ”
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When in the spring of 2019 he left Cardinal Ritter in St. Louis, Williams was considered a four-star candidate and, according to the Rival, placed 87th in his class, his dazzling speed was an obvious advantage, but his thin figure raised legitimate concerns. At 6-1, he weighed just 168 pounds.
Before choosing the Buckeyes in the fall of 2018, he considered offers from both Ohio and Alabama. If he initially chose Tide, he would probably have the national championship ring, but his initial experience would be similar, with Jaylen Waddle and eventual winner Heisman DeVont Smith taking the position of receiver. But they were closer to leaving.
And when that happened and Williams needed a new home, Crimson Tide was still looking for him. Williams said he was told, “I would be a great addition to the attack, and as the season went on, we all saw a little how I was used in the attack and all that … We just all got together and we had a big offense this year. . “
He is fifth among FBS receivers with 1,507 receiving yards and is split second in touchdowns, although his 75 admissions are only 30. His explosiveness is evident in the fact that he has more TD 70 yards, 60 yards, 50 yards, 40 yards, 30 yards and 20 yards than any receiver in the division.
“I was very lucky.” I trained a lot of great receivers, “Alabama Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien told Sporting News. In fact, he was DeAndre Hopkins’ head coach at Houston Texans, Julian Edelman’s offensive coordinator in 2011 and DaeSean Hamilton’s first head coach at Penn State.
“And Jameson, due to the phase of his career in which he finds himself, is a university football player and probably has a chance to play professional football … Excellent speed, excellent track runner, very competitive guy. He is a very instinctive player. He is a very smart player. And I can’t say enough about its competitiveness. He is a player who goes out and trains every day as if it were a game.
“So I think that’s something the big ones have – these qualities.” Everyone is a little different. Each is built differently. Everyone has different skills, different speeds and so on. But the best I’ve ever had, and Jameson in that category, all have that competitive spirit that’s sometimes really hard to find. “
O’Brien arrived in Alabama last January to become the new OC team and replaced Steve Sarkisian after retiring as head coach in Texas. At the time, Williams was still preparing for spring training in 2021 and his junior season with the Buckeyes. When that was over, and when Williams decided to look elsewhere to continue his career, Alabama had a sudden opportunity to fill the substantial vacancies created in her admissions core.
“You know, it’s similar to free action – but without rules, to be honest with you,” O’Brien said. “There are certain rules at the university, but the portal is an interesting offer. And I will stay away from that. “
Williams, at least for the moment, is not very interested in being an example of the success of the transfer rule. This week, he armed himself hard with the question of what he would say to another potential transfer about how to achieve the degree of success he achieved in changing schools.
His attention is focused on the defense of Georgia, which he has seen before, up close and personally, and he tries to calculate what different concepts he might have dealt with on Monday night.
He smoked what was celebrated as Generation D for seven catches, two touchdowns and 184 yards, and there is no way UGa could reverse the outcome of this game – a 41-24 Crimson Tide victory – without erasing a decent portion of that production. .
“We’re always looking for ways to get the ball for all our boys,” O’Brien said. “Our boys are really smart.” You can move them. You can do a lot of different things with them. ”He didn’t want to reveal what the specific things might be, just as the bulldogs weren’t going to reveal their plan to limit Williams’ impact.
“It’s going to be a very good challenge,” Williams said. “I’m pretty sure all the boys will be twice as hard as in the first match.” We have to play much better than in the first match, much better than in the last. “
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Although Williams objected to discussing the transfer exception or talking with any depth about his experience in Ohio, he was willing to reveal that he was still in contact with his former Buckeyes teammates, the guys who kept him on the bench like Wilson, Olave and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who openly supported his quest for the CFP title.
“It’s great to get love from my brothers,” he said. “I talk to those guys almost every day … Ever since I left, we’ve had a stronger relationship, even though I’ve had a strong relationship there.” We are in touch, we call, we write, we watch how it goes. “
Olave and Wilson are expected to be among the top 20 from NFL Sporting News writer Vinnie Iyer. Smith-Njigba broke the Rose Bowl record with 343 yards. And Jameson Williams will try to win the national championship on Monday night, even though he will be wearing a much deeper shade of red.