How a week at The Opening led Jarren Williams to Miami

Jarren Williams-Miami recruiting-Miami football

The first thing Jarren Williams did when the rosters were finalized at The Opening during the summer, was to look for some familiar faces. The quarterback wanted to know who he’d be firing passes to with Savage Pro. He furiously glanced through the names to see if there was anyone he knew, or at least some people he could get background information on.

“OK,” he said to himself, “I’ve got my boy Trevor on here.”

Trevor Lawrence, a fellow Georgia quarterback, would give him at least one familiar face. He kept peering through the roster.

“OK, Lorenzo [Lingard] — he’s a Miami [guy] going to Miami, too… Brevin [Jordan] — he’s committed to Miami, too… Brian [Hightower] — OK, he’s committed to Miami.

“OK,” he said to himself, “this is a Miami team.”

And so the most crucial connection of Miami’s Class of 2018 was born. He didn’t realize it at the time, but the week Williams spent slinging the ball to Lingard, Hightower, Jordan, Cam’Ron Davis, Mark Pope and Will Mallory was a sneak peek at his future. He kept in touch with some of these teammates when they all left Beaverton, Ore., and when the Hurricanes most needed an emergency option at quarterback, almost half the class knew who to reach out to.

“He’s just a really good guy,” said Hightower, a 4-star wide receiver. “He knows how to sling the rock. He’s a field general. Great guy. I love him.”

It’s now been a little less than a week since Williams publicly became the 21st member of Miami’s 2018 class. The 4-star dual-threat quarterback announced his decision with a video posted to Twitter last Wednesday. It was, however, a pledge literally months in the making. If it weren’t for Williams’ experience playing with a slew of future Hurricanes, Miami still could be looking for a replacement for Artur Sitkowski in this class.

Sitkowski’s decision to change course at the start of November was in some ways surprising and in other ways not shocking at all. The 4-star pro-style quarterback was really struggling through a senior season in Bradenton, Fla. The senior found himself on the bench at IMG Academy, at best splitting time with 3-star quarterback Zack Annexstad, who is heading to Minnesota as a preferred walk-on. He wasn’t exactly turning into the prospect the Hurricanes wanted, but Miami didn’t necessarily have a ton of options to replace him.

On Nov. 1, Sitkowski flipped his commitment. The quarterback announced on Twitter he wouldn’t be coming to Coral Gables, Fla., after all. The New Jersey native was going home to play for Rutgers.

“Representing Old Bridge was huge,” Sitkwoski told 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong. “Jersey is my home state. I have a lot of pride in my home state and you can ask anybody on my team here at IMG. All I talk about is New Jersey and my pride for my home state.”

During the next 24 hours, text messages from future players flooded coach Mark Richt’s phone. They had the perfect replacement in mind.

“Coach told me they were telling [him], Coach, ‘Get Jarren. Just go get Jarren,'” Williams said. “I just think that was pretty cool. It means a lot.”

“The first person I thought of,” said Jordan, a 4-star tight end, “was Jarren.”

Quarterbacks coach Jon Richt hustled up to Lawrenceville, Ga., only a few days later to watch Williams’ final high school game. He told the quarterback he wanted to get him on campus for an official visit. Less than a week later, Williams hopped on a flight to Florida, where he saw the Hurricanes rout then-No. 3 Notre Dame for their biggest win in a decade.

From start to finish, Miami blew him away. He dropped by College GameDay, where he spotted a fan holding a sign with a picture of Williams’ face and the message “We Want Jarren.” He crossed paths with other fans throughout the day who recognized him immediately. On Sunday, before he departed for Atlanta, Williams spent the morning at Mark Richt’s house for breakfast. Just before Williams left, he told Richt he had all but made up his mind. He just had to take the official visit to Ohio State he had promised coach Urban Meyer he would.

“I’m a man of my word,” Williams said.

Williams made the trip to Columbus, but canceled a visit to Auburn a week later. His mind was already made up.

The most important part of his trip to South Florida, though, was probably the actual day of the game. Not only did Williams get to watch a signature win, he watched it with the same players he had bonded with at The Opening. By the end of the day, Williams knew he’d found his new home.

“It’s no coincidence,” Williams said. “It just all happened for a reason. I was put on that team for a reason.”

The post How a week at The Opening led Jarren Williams to Miami appeared first on Diehards.

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