As was at least somewhat expected, Lee's Summit West running back Ryan Williams committed to Mizzou during yesterday's Junior Day festivities in Columbia.
Almost a year to the day in which Missouri extended a verbal offer to the 5-foot-10, 175-pound running back, Williams ended his recruitment and committed to the Tigers. The decision was confirmed by Lee's Summit West head coach Royce Boehm.
"Ryan brings explosiveness, I tell you what," Boehm said. "If you watch his highlight film -- he breaks ankles. He makes people miss. The University of Missouri is a perfect fit for him."
Boehm compared Williams to Henry Josey in terms of running style and ability, and said Williams should be able to play at 190 pounds in college with no problem.
"Just elusive. So elusive, so slick. It's like he puts his hand on the back of one of our linemen and, next thing you know, he makes a break and he's gone. Then, on a dime, he's cutting back to his left and breaking ankles." [...]
"At the time it was Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa and he would ask me, 'Why am I not getting offers from these other schools?' I looked at him and said, 'You know why? A lot of these schools look at stats, and they're looking at the wrong thing.' I am a true believer about that.
"I had Kansas come in last Friday, before the snow hit. They were looking at Brenner Clemons and I looked over at" running backs coach "Reggie" Mitchell "and said, 'Why haven't you guys offered Ryan Williams?' And he said, 'Who?' I put his highlight tape on and he goes, 'Oh my Lord. How did we miss this guy?' I said, 'You know what? You're getting real close to truly missing him because I'm hearing rumors from the kid that he's ready to commit.' Then last Saturday" Williams "calls me and tells me he's going to commit today.
When Mizzou offered Williams a year ago, barely after his sophomore season ended, I assumed Williams was an impending four-star recruit and that Mizzou would have to fight off national names to secure his services. Instead, he's a mid-tier three-star with few other offers despite some pretty exciting film. He's got a nice frame -- as Boehm mentioned above, it doesn't look like he'll have any problem getting to 190 -- and seems to change direction quite smoothly without losing speed. Here's some film from his sophomore season. (You can find junior film here, but it's not embeddable yet.)
Williams reverses field without actually giving up any ground, and I'm not sure I've seen that much before, at least not at the high school level. One of my pet peeves is when a guy backs up 10 yards, then outruns everybody in the opposite direction. That's damn impressive at the high school level, but it's terrible running IQ, and it's something almost nobody gets away with in college. Williams is slick and shows lovely vision and smarts. I'm a fan. One has to figure that he'd be approaching four-star status if he were already in the 185-190 neighborhood. But I think Mizzou's perfectly fine with him remaining under the radar.
STRENGTHS: Has a muscular frame and good overall playing strength. Shows some suddenness in tight spaces and flashes very good speed when he gets outside. Runs with good patience to locate the hole. Will lower his shoulder to fight for the extra yard and runs with good balance. Cuts well in the open field and shows good lateral quickness. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Can be an upright runner. Is a bit straight-lined in the open field. Does not show explosive homerun speed. ...
I see very little in the way of "straight-lined in the open field," but maybe they were looking at a different set of film.
Williams is the second known commitment of the 2015 recruiting class. He joins Chase Abbington in an increasingly crowded Mizzou backfield. We'll see if Mizzou ends up landing any other commitments in the Junior Day aftermath, but they got the one I was hoping for and half-expecting.