While Missouri’s biggest recruiting battle of the 2019 class came in the form of transfer QB Kelly Bryant, Parkway North (St. Louis, Mo.) safety Jalani Williams is the biggest prep win for Barry Odom — to date, anyway.
The hard-hitting safety headlines Missouri’s class through the early signing period.
3. Jalani Williams is Missouri’s highest-rated recruit.
He’s the highest-rated commitment for Missouri’s 2019 class, and that’s true across almost all the recruiting services. On Rivals, he’s a 5.8 four-star, the nation’s 236th-ranked recruit and the 19th-ranked safety in the country.
On 247 Sports, he’s a 4-star safety, the nation’s 288th-ranked player and 24th-ranked safety in the country.
On ESPN, Williams is the nation’s 21st-ranked safety, a four star with an 80 overall grade. He’s Missouri’s second-highest rated commitment on ESPN, just behind QB Connor Bazelak (82).
2. Jalani Williams had his fair share of suitors.
If you want to get caught up in “commitable vs. non-commitable” offers, feel free. Remember, Alabama never losses a recruit — that recruit didn’t have a commitable offer in the first place.
However you want to look at it, Williams — at the very least — had offers and very serious interest from some of the top programs in the country, Alabama included. Williams took an official visit to LSU in September — so, yeah, he had an offer from those Tigers, too. His 247 Sports profile lists him as having 25 offers, which include Georgia, Auburn, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Missouri went head-to-head with the bluebloods and managed to keep Williams home.
1. Jalani Williams will have a big impact on the field — but what he represents might be even more important.
A lot has been made about the thawing of St. Louis recruiting with Barry Odom’s tenure. Williams might represent the clearest example of that. He’s the first St. Louis-area four-star commitment since Terry Beckner and Natereace Strong in the 2015 class; he’s the first St. Louis, Mo., four-star commitment since Andy Bauer in 2014.
Clearly, not every four-star commitment pans out in college, but this class has shown that Missouri once again has the interest of a big talent-producing region of the state. Plenty of three-star recruits have committed out of St. Louis in this recruiting cycle, but Williams is the cream of the crop.
On the field, he’s a tall (6-foot-2) rangy safety that has the frame to put on more muscle to his currently listed 170-pounds. That size is a commodity in itself in the defensive backfield, and should Williams develop during his Missouri tenure, he very well could be a national name before his career his over.