FORSYTH, Ga. — Jamyest Williams remembers the moment he thought he was going to Georgia.
The Grayson (Ga.) defensive back was sitting in Georgia coach Kirby Smart’s office on his official visit in mid-January. Williams simply was talking with Smart, and he thought he was going to be a Bulldog and not a Gamecock after months of being committed to South Carolina.
But the Gamecocks had the final say in his recruitment, getting his last official visit before a National Signing Day announcement, and they sealed the deal.
“It was the relationships,” Williams said. “I just enjoyed it every time. We just enjoyed it every time we talked.”
Williams called Smart the night before Signing Day to let him know he would stick with South Carolina, the school he committed to in August.
Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp already knew. Williams had informed Muschamp he would sign with the Gamecocks on Signing Day, despite having a ceremony with Georgia and South Carolina hats on the table.
Muschamp’s reaction to the news Williams delivered face-to-face confirmed that he was making the right decision.
“He just told me: ‘It’s not the opportunity. It’s about the expectations,’ ” Williams said. “They expect me to come in and do big things. That’s what I’m there to do. I’m wanting to live up to the challenge.”
The 5-foot-9, 174-pound defensive back will play cornerback and nickelback at South Carolina, with immediate playing time all but a guarantee. He played all across the defensive backfield, on offense and as a return specialist as a senior at Grayson, as the Rams won the state title.
“Man, it was like finally because I went to three different high schools,” said Williams, who also played at Duluth and Lawrenceville Archer. “When we got it, it was a long journey with so many of us coming together at one school, building that bond and going and winning.”
The weeks after the state title run were spent finishing his recruitment, which led him to Columbia in the end.
It was hard to say no to Georgia, Williams said. He grew up in Athens, calling it “my backyard.” But with the mayhem behind him, Williams is finding life relaxing before he heads to the school he stuck with in his recruitment.
“I was really committed the whole time,” Williams said.