For Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, persistence paid off in the pursuit of former South Carolina running back David Williams.
Williams, a former 4-star recruit out of Philadelphia, took an unofficial visit to Wisconsin in the spring of his junior year, while Bielema was still the Badgers head coach. South Carolina went on to land Williams’ commitment the following January, just weeks after Bielema left for his new post in Fayetteville.
“When I made the transition to Arkansas, I was on — recruiting or thinking about recruiting David, but he went in a different direction and committed to South Carolina in the SEC,” Bielema said, during Monday’s SEC Media Days.
“I made note of that. I knew where he’s at.”
At South Carolina, Williams rushed for 794 yards and 5 touchdowns, before declaring in January that he would transfer to Connecticut, to play out his final season of eligibility as a graduate transfer. In June, Williams changed his course of direction and announced that he would stay in the SEC.
Bielema credited South Carolina coach Will Muschamp for allowing the transfer between SEC schools.
“They were very cooperative, didn’t try to put a block on him or what not,” Bielema said. “I think this young man was recruited by coach (Steve) Spurrier, brought in, and things didn’t go his way. He graduated on time and deserved an opportunity.”
Williams, who entered last preseason atop South Carolina’s depth chart, has been a good fit at Arkansas.
“We had a prior relationship and to bring him into a position of need, and his grad degree is going to be something that he’s interested in which was a little unique to us as well that allows him to get into some real estate and different things,” Bielema said. “It’s really a marriage made in heaven and a great addition to campus.”