EDITOR’S NOTE: Jarren Williams’ father, Anthony Williams, called into Kentucky Sports Radio to say his comments below were “misconstrued” and Jarren will enroll at Kentucky in January. However, the conversation below is a Q&A and transcribed verbatim from a recorded interview.
SEC Country stands by the reporting and the tone of the article.
Jarren Williams remains committed to Kentucky, but the 4-star quarterback is still listening to programs like Alabama and Ohio State. His dad, Anthony Williams, told SEC Country on Thursday night that winning is Jarren’s primary focus.
“I think it’s to the point right now where he wants to win, and he wants to win bad,” Anthony Williams said. “He wants to win now. I think he’s just kind of tired of being on those subpar teams that the athletes are really not committed.”
Williams’ Central Gwinnett High School dropped to 5-4 last Friday night, and Anthony Williams said he could feel his son’s frustration after the game.
Kentucky sits at 5-2, and Anthony Williams said Jarren believes in the Wildcats and the players that could be joining him in the 2018 class. But that doesn’t mean Jarren is ready to close his recruitment. Jarren is taking an unofficial visit to Kentucky on Saturday for the Tennessee game.
“He thinks that Kentucky is going in the right direction, but at the same time he wants to make sure that, ‘Hey, if I’m 100 percent on Kentucky, I want to make sure that I’m 100 percent.’ If a new school like Ohio State, or an Alabama or a Florida State comes calling, in all respect to those coaches, he wants to listen,” Anthony Williams said. “There’s nothing going farther than him listening. If they said something that’s intriguing to him, makes him want to investigate a little bit more, then I think he would do that.”
With Ohio State worried that Alabama could flip 4-star quarterback commit Emory Jones, the Buckeyes have begun to circle back to Williams. Ohio State quarterbacks coach Ryan Day visited Williams on Monday. Both Williams and Jones are Georgia prospects. Williams is the No. 8 dual-threat quarterback in the 2018 class, and he’s Kentucky’s highest-profile commitment.
Here’s the full conversation Anthony Williams had with SEC Country on Thursday.
Q: What is the latest on Jarren’s recruitment, including reports that Alabama is still in regular contact?
Anthony Williams: “Of course Jarren has a relationship with a lot of those guys, dating back to about a year and a half now. They still reach out to him. Alabama, Ohio State is keeping in contact with him. (Ohio State quarterback coach Ryan Day) came down this past Monday to visit with Jarren. So, you’ve got those two schools. Of course you’ve got South Carolina who still remains in contact with him as well, and LSU.”
Q: Is Ohio State reaching out a new development?
Anthony Williams: “Well, Ohio State has been reaching out to him. With the situation with their quarterback right now, I think they’re kind of unsure. They’ve been pretty active.”
Q: Is speculation that Emory Jones might de-commit from Ohio State affecting anything Jarren is doing?
Anthony Williams: “Well, Jarren is committed to Kentucky. Emory, I can’t really speak for him. I think he’s just going over his options like every kid should. I know sometimes schools don’t like for guys to go on visits or whatever, but I believe that if you’re selling your program to be the best, it shouldn’t bother a school whether or not a kid goes visit. They’re gonna have an opportunity to choose where they wanna go.”
Q: Does Jarren have any official visits lined up?
Anthony Williams: “No, he doesn’t have any official visits lined up. We haven’t lined that up with Kentucky. We’re trying to get down there in December for an official.”
Q: How would you characterize Jarren’s level of commitment to Kentucky?
Anthony Williams: “I don’t like to put percentages on anything. I mean, he’s committed. I just know Jarren wants to win. Right now he’s frustrated. And this is just something going on internally with him and his team. He’s frustrating because Jarren put in the work. Jarren’s going above and beyond. When he’s seeing other players not doing the same thing, he questions their commitment. I think it’s to the point right now where he wants to win, and he wants to win bad. He wants to win now. I think he’s just kind of tired of being on those subpar teams that the athletes are really not committed. You really wanna be with a winning program. That’s kind of where his head is.”
Q: So what has he thought of Kentucky’s season so far, and how important is it for Kentucky to keep winning to keep his commitment?
Anthony Williams: “I think he wants to be around players that want to win. Kentucky has certainly demonstrated that they’re winning. They’re 5-2. But I think for him, he’s looking at it from a point of view that he wants better players around him. He wants more explosive players around him. He realizes that football is a team sport and he can’t do it by himself. We got out there and we average 37 points per game and still lose. That’s frustrating because he felt like, ‘What else could I have done?’ He’s always kind of looking for ways to put his team in a better position to win. You look at Kentucky, the players they’re bringing in, he believes those players are gonna make an impact and they’re gonna help that program around. He thinks that Kentucky is going in the right direction, but at the same time he wants to make sure that, ‘Hey, if I’m 100 percent on Kentucky, I want to make sure that I’m 100 percent.’ If a new school like Ohio State, or an Alabama or a Florida State come calling, in all respect to those coaches, he wants to listen. There’s nothing going farther than him listening. If they said something that’s intriguing to him, makes him want to investigate a little bit more, then I think he would do that.”
Q: With Ohio State coming in late to the process, what was their message to him?
Anthony Williams: “What people don’t understand is that Ohio State’s not coming in late. Ohio State came down and did a camp at our school. Urban Meyer had an opportunity to talk to Jarren then. So, that relationship was always there. Although they had a commitment in Emory Jones, he always told Jarren that he really thinks Jarren is a special talent. When the whole thing happened with Emory Jones, I think that kind of furthered things along. They are pursuing Jarren. What they’re telling Jarren is that he has an opportunity to play. I think one of their quarterbacks, (Day) didn’t really mention which one, that may be transferring out. That could create an opportunity that they may take two quarterbacks in 2018.”
Q: When listening to Alabama or Ohio State, Jarren doesn’t seem to be concerned with the playing time competitions that might exist. Is that right?
Anthony Williams: “The competition is not gonna scare him off. I think he welcomes competition, and I think Jarren believes he’s the best. And he believes that in order to be the best, you have to compete against the best. What Jarren’s looking at is, ‘Where can I go and compete right away an win?’ Cause he wants to win. He wants to play on that big stage. For the first time, I kind of felt his emotions after our previous game. All the things that he’s been telling me about winning and just being around the right players that have the same goal. That’s what he wants to be around.”