Why UGA has a strong chance to flip South Carolina commit Jamyest Williams

Can UGA flip Jamyest Williams from South Carolina? That might be Georgia's biggest potential headline on National Signing Day.

Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news and which way this 4-star or 5-star might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.


Jamyest Williams can play and excel anywhere he wants to.

I’ve been covering elite high school football for more than 15 years. The Grayson senior cracks the Top 15 of the best pure football players I’ve laid eyes on.

The 4-star cornerback is currently committed to South Carolina. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound gem has been pledged to the Gamecocks since Aug. 27.

Williams took an important visit to UGA last weekend. He’ll take his final official visit to South Carolina this weekend.

His father, JJ, recently shared his thoughts on how close that decision is at this time.

Georgia, in my mind, has gained the advantage. It is not simply because the program needs another blue-chip that rates as the nation’s No. 74 overall prospect.

His senior highlights show all the many wonderful things he can do.

The reasons why

There’s the need to preface my words by noting exactly where this is coming from. These next two paragraphs are a bibliography. I’m not taking things folks are telling me in confidence and wrapping a writer’s words around them to make them dance on a page the way I want them to.

Williams is rated as the nation’s No. 8 cornerback prospect for the Class of 2017. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

My sources are history and logic.

Williams recently tweeted out he wasn’t going to conduct any interviews before he releases his decision at 9 a.m. on National Signing Day.

When the on-the-record interviews aren’t there, that leaves only actions and patterns to study. Williams is one of the Top 5 competitors I’ve seen in those 15 years. He burns to win and excel and puts in the sweat equity to deserve every one of the honors and laurels he’s stacked up.

Jamyest Williams plans to take an important official visit to South Carolina this weekend. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

When I look at his career timeline, I see he wants to win and to be surrounded by other great players.

There’s no coincidence there in tracking his path from Duluth as a freshman to Archer High School and then to Grayson as a senior.

That bona fide transfer to the Rams landed the Class 7A state title last month. That was the championship in the state’s largest and most competitive classification. Williams got the chance to flash every ounce of his ability and toughness during that game. It will go down as one of the greatest state championship games in the great history of Georgia high school football.

Williams got the chance to flash every ounce of his ability and toughness during that game. It will go down as one of the greatest state championship games in the great history of Georgia high school football.

That ranks as his career pinnacle to this point. Because he’s never really cared about any recruiting rankings.

Duluth went 4-7 his freshman year. Archer posted 11-4 and 11-2 records after that with perhaps some of the top talent in the state those years. Grayson finished 14-1 and won it all his senior year.

His junior highlights are the sort any senior would love to have.


Why the flip can happen

The chance to win during his SEC career seems greater at Georgia compared to South Carolina. Why? That’s because the Bulldogs are bringing in more top players.

Williams does want to win. He works extremely hard so he can compete on the biggest stages and in crucial playoff games. Yet he can’t take over a game like a quarterback can. An elite cornerback or even a dangerous punt returner cannot directly affect the game every play.

It is also no secret the players on the best teams receive the most exposure and a boost for postseason honors. That was a fact in high school football and it will still be that way in the SEC. The best players on those teams get noticed more because they make the crucial plays to win the biggest games of the season.

Jamyest Williams was named to Nike’s elite “The Opening” prospect showcase as a junior and a senior. He was named to the All-Tournament Team both years. (Chris Kirschner / AJC)

He’s the nation’s No. 8 cornerback prospect and I’m sure he can get his degree at a lot of places. South Carolina has a world-renowned International Business school.

Football will still be a big part of this decision.

Williams is also the top-rated recruit in South Carolina’s class this year. If he flipped, that would make him the seventh highest-rated recruit on Georgia’s board.

The UGA class currently sits at No. 3 nationally in the team rankings. That’s No. 2 in the SEC behind only Alabama.

South Carolina rates No. 20 nationally and No. 7 in the SEC. The Gamecocks have also seen a couple of high-value de-commitments over the last month.

Williams is one of only two recruits in South Carolina’s class that are rated among the nation’s Top 200 prep players. There are 16 players which rate that highly in Georgia’s current class.

This resembles another Archer and a Grayson-level decision.

The stock answers which could serve as a rebuttal to my theory are there. Williams and other elite players often say they can’t look to what other guys do. Even their close friends and “dogs” as they like to call them.

Don’t knock his height. Williams would be an ideal nickel or slot cornerback right away in the SEC. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

They must choose the school that’s best for them.

But there’s a reason the elite guys usually flock to the biggest programs with the strongest traditions.

My conclusion is that Williams has always wanted to surround himself with great players so his talents can be spent chasing championships.

When he exerts every ounce of his energy and will to win a football game, he’d rather see it take place within a one-possession game in the fourth quarter or a big victory. That’s opposed to an outmanned 31-20 defeat.

The chances of that seem greater playing for Georgia over the next three-to-four years. The Bulldogs are stacking up more elite players than South Carolina.

Athens has also been his home. He’s told me in the past he’s always known he was going to deeply consider playing for the Bulldogs because of that connection.

It also seems that Georgia has now prioritized Williams down the stretch of his recruiting. That push mirrors the attention he’s received from a hard-working South Carolina staff. The Gamecocks clearly valued his skills from the outset.

Laugh at me next week. Tweet this back at me. But I believe the flip to Georgia can happen on National Signing Day. It is all about the players.

  • When Georgia landed D’Andre Swift and Mark Webb in September, that flip chance went up.
  • When Georgia landed Malik Herring and Jeremiah Holloman in December, that chance went up.
  • When Isaiah Wilson and Nate McBride committed to Georgia in December, that chance went up.
  • When DeAngelo Gibbs, Tray Bishop and Monty Rice chose UGA in January, that chance again went up.

South Carolina has a great chance to make those chances go down with his last visit. The thinking here is that the Gamecocks need to.

Why he stays with South Carolina

Did Georgia do enough to sway Jamyest Williams on his visit last weekend? (JJ Williams / Facebook)

Based on studying the moves he’s made with the transfers throughout his prep career, I think Georgia is trending with Williams.

If he applies the same thought process to his college decision, then he’ll come home to play for the Bulldogs in Athens.

Why wouldn’t he? Well, the Gamecocks have done a tremendous job of recruiting him and making him a priority.

The academic fit is also clearly there.

If he keeps that commitment, I think one of the biggest reasons why might be competition.

He might see that as the ultimate challenge. Leading the Gamecocks to the SEC East title in the face of all that talent the Bulldogs have stacked up would be the type of mountain he’s used to climbing in his career.

He’s a 5-foot-9 cornerback and quickly was seen as one of the best in the nation. Williams might just be primed for that test, too.

There’s also the coaches to consider. I think his relationship with South Carolina defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson might still keep him in Columbia.

Another reason to consider that flip

Florida just lost the commitment of 4-star CB Elijah Blades.

That development calls for another look at how Georgia is doing in collecting 4-star prospects in the Class of 2017 compared to its SEC East rivals.

  • Georgia: 20
  • Florida: 6
  • Tennessee: 5
  • South Carolina: 4
  • Kentucky: 4
  • Missouri: 0
  • Vanderbilt: 0

The line score currently reads Georgia 20, The rest of the SEC East 19.







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Follow Jeff Sentell on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.


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