Georgia football already feeling impact of Nick Williams departure

Georgia football-Nick Williams-recruiting
Nick Williams was a key behind-the-scenes figure in several recruiting wins for UGA over the last several years. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

This time a year ago, most of those who follow the Georgia football program probably didn’t know who Nick Williams was.

He was a graduate assistant for the Bulldogs, in addition to being a former linebacker and defensive back for Georgia from 2008-2010. Williams was also from the same high school and hometown that head coach Kirby Smart came from in Bainbridge, Ga.

“Of course I’m going to go by and see coach Nick,” Alexander said ahead of his visit to Texas A&M. “That’s a good situation for him and his family. I’m happy for coach Nick.”

Bouie, who will likely play cornerback at the next level, also happened to come from Bainbridge.

With Williams now at Texas A&M, Alexander and Bouie both felt compelled to visit College Station on the first weekend of visitors after the lifting of the dead period. Going into the weekend, both Alexander and Bouie were still committed to Georgia. The pair had also visited Georgia during the week as well.

Coming out of the visit, the two elected to open up their recruitments. Alexander announced his de-commitment from the Georgia program on Monday. Bouie followed suit on Tuesday.

Related: 5-star DT “Big Bear” Alexander de-commits from UGA

In the span of two days, the Bulldogs lost two top-30 prospects and fell from No. 1 to No. 5 in the recruiting rankings for the 2022 cycle.

Williams is hardly the first support staffer to have an outsized impact. Georgia can look within its own current staff to see Will Muschamp now helping the program as a defensive analyst.

Texas A&M also has made it a point to improve on the recruiting trail. Since the start of the 2020 calendar year, Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies have hired three Georgia staffers to help boost their recruiting efforts. Williams joined after former Georgia offensive coordinator James Coley became the tight ends coach and Marshall Malchow became an Associate Athletic Director for the football program after serving as the director of player personnel.

The big question with regards to this whole situation isn’t why Bouie and Alexander de-committed. With prospects getting a chance to get out and see schools, de-commitments were going to happen. The timing isn’t ideal for Georgia, but the Bulldogs won’t be the only school to suffer high-profile de-commitments.

The most interesting ramification of these de-commitments is why did Williams end up leave the Georgia program? Smart had to know the impact Williams had on these prospects.

Perhaps Williams wanted to advance his own career outside of the Georgia bubble. The move to Texas A&M likely brought a nice raise, though money shouldn’t have been a deciding factor given what Georgia has been willing to spend.

Williams likely wants to get into an on-field role. Working with the Aggies should expand those opportunities, as he now has connections with multiple staffs.

“For coach Nick, it was like a business decision. To take care of his family and leave,” Bouie told DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell. “For me, it is like a business decision for me. To make the best decision for my future with where my commitment is at.”

Related: 5-star ATH Deyon Bouie de-commits from UGA

It’s worth pointing out at this point that Bouie and Alexander could end up back in Georgia’s class. The Bulldogs got a 5-star prospect to re-commit during the 2018 cycle in Adam Anderson. In the 2021 recruiting cycle, Georgia had two prospects de-commit, only for them to end up signing with the Bulldogs in Marlin Dean and Jared Wilson.

Williams himself could also continue his upward ascent. Given his impact with recruits — along with the fact that he’ll have worked on defensive staffs with the likes of Dan Lanning at Georgia and Mike Elko at Texas A&M — it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see him move into an on-field coaching role sooner rather than later.

Related: Georgia football, Texas A&M going about the same Alabama problem in different ways

Georgia clearly had a valuable coach in Williams on its staff. Texas A&M recognized that, and is capitalizing as the Aggies are squarely in the recruitments of Bouie and Alexander.

The Bulldogs still are as well and have their own well-regarded support staffers. Other than Muschamp though, they aren’t as well known as Williams is at this point.

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