Safe to say that Buckeye fans missed this feeling, yeah? After a more than two month hiatus from commitments, or really much of any recruiting news (last commit was Cormontae Hamilton on July 27th), today’s news of Jameson Williams’ commitment was more than welcome. Ohio State football has a huge weekend ahead of it, and there was no better way to kick that off than with a big commitment.
To even call this a big commitment may not actually be doing it justice. Williams was one of the top recruits on Ohio State’s 2019 board for more than a year. He’s an extremely unique and exciting talent, and through all of the turmoil— and the turnover at receiver coach to a significantly better coach— that Ohio State was able to hang on and land Williams is a big deal.
Williams is pretty much the perfect fit for this class, and for this offense. While Garrett Wilson is more of a pure receiver, able to run crisp routes and dominate with his rare combination of athleticism and technique, Williams is the perfect compliment. While Wilson isn’t a huge, big-play receiver, Williams is as prototypical a big-play guy as you’ll see. Let’s take a look at what makes this fit work, and what Williams brings to Ohio State.
On the field
Do you remember how it felt to watch Braxton Miller run? The constant thought in the back of your head that no matter what happened, Braxton could, and absolutely would, find his way out of it and score a touchdown? Well, that’s Jameson Williams’ entire thing. That may sound like an overstatement, but no, that’s really just what he does.
He’s an electric, sometimes completely unstoppable, playmaker. He isn’t a particularly refined route runner (although he may be, but his high school route tree is a screen, a five yard in, and a go), but he really doesn’t need to be. More than half of his highlights come on screen plays, and he just has an innate ability to turn those underneath plays into huge gains, and more often than not, touchdowns. Hell, he had 36 receptions last year, and 19 of them were touchdowns.
That all makes it sound like Jameson is a one-dimensional player, which I really don’t think that he is. He’s got very good hands on the passes that he does see down the field, and seems capable of tracking throws and pulling them in over his shoulder. The reason most of his receptions are behind the line of scrimmage or under five yards isn’t because he can’t do anything else, it’s that there’s no real reason to do anything else. If he can turn any screen pass into a touchdown, why risk a throw down the field?
His track speed, vision, and elusiveness make him a natural fit for Ohio State’s H-back position, and while he won’t be able to subsist only on screens and underneath passes at Ohio State, there is a pretty easy comparison to make for him. In fact, it almost feels too easy to say that as Parris Campbell leaves after this year, the next evolution of his position will arrive in Williams.
That’s probably not far off. Williams plays a lot like Campbell does. That’s a good thing! Parris Campbell wasn’t as developed coming out of high school as Williams is now, and with a capable receiver coach for the forseeable future, there’s no reason to think that Williams can’t become even better. He’s got a great ceiling, and even if he’s never going to be the technician that Garrett Wilson is, he’s a damn good athlete, and as much as I hate this cliche, he just a natural football player. He’ll be great in Columbus.
In the class
Jameson Williams is the 15th member of the 2019 Ohio State class. He’s the second receiver, along with Garrett Wilson, and if all things go according to plan, he’ll be one of four. My guess, at this point, is that the last two receivers in this class are David Bell and Wandale Robinson, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Elijah Higgins becomes a realistic option by the time the early signing period rolls around.
Williams’ pledge moves Ohio State to 11th in the national rankings, just behind Florida State. Ohio State would have the best class with just 15 players, as every team in the top ten holds at least 16 pledges, including five with more than 20 (Alabama, Oregon, Clemson, Michigan, and Texas A&M) which means that Ohio State, despite being ranked lower than usual, is still on schedule.
It could be a busy couple of weeks on the recruiting front. Big Ten season is when Ohio State really kicks the official visits into overdrive, and with roughly ten more spots (though I expect just eight more pledges) left in this class, and the early signing period less than three months away, the Buckeyes will be looking to finish up the class sooner rather than later.
You can watch Jameson’s highlights below, and read his commitment piece here.