Every time a major program loses a key recruit Rivals.com takes a look at how big of a blow it is to the respective school, analyzing it from a local, regional and national level. To quantify the “sting” of each de-commitment, we assign a score from 1-10, with one being no big deal and 10 being a catastrophic hit.
For a while it looked like the quarterback recruiting carousel had come to a stop, but Kentucky found itself back in the game when four-star quarterback Jarren Williams backed off his pledge to the school following an official visit to Miami. It was the second time Williams had de-committed from the ‘Cats after initially pledging in 2016. To add insult to injury for Kentucky, it was also the second straight year the school lost a commitment from a four-star quarterback. But how much does the loss of Williams truly hurt the class? We ask our experts to weigh in on just how much losing him stings and also take a look at which schools might benefit going forward.
“Jarren Williams was "the guy" for Kentucky for the past 15 months, from the time when he camped in Lexington going into his junior season. Quarterback has been a very important position for them in this class because they're still searching for the guy who will be the future of that position. As his stock soared over the past six months, expectations continued to rise and he also became a huge part of the staff's case to other recruits. The staff feels like they can land a quality JUCO, and Stephen Johnson worked out the last time they went that route. But there's no downplaying the significance of the loss.” – Justin Rowland, CatsIllustrated.com
Sting Factor: 10
“This one hurts Mark Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats. They have worked extremely hard to get Williams to commit not only once, but twice. The Wildcats have played competitive football the last few years and they have looked to be close to turning that corner, so keeping Williams in the fold could have been big here. Kentucky just is not ready to recruit against Auburn, Miami and Ohio State with guys in the state of Georgia that do not have any type of connection to Lexington. This was a great pull early on, but once his recruitment really took off the last couple of months, Stoops and his staff knew it was going to be tough hold on. Williams could have challenged for the starting spot next fall and it will be very tough for Kentucky to sign a quarterback like him this cycle.” – Chad Simmons, Southeast Recruiting Analyst, Rivals.com
Sting Factor: 9
“I rarely give a 10 to a de-commitment, but this is another one up there with Brendan Radley-Hiles (Nebraska) and Cade Mays (Tennessee). This is his second de-commitment from Kentucky so maybe it doesn’t sting as much, but this kid was the quarterback of the future for Kentucky, a player they have worked so hard to keep for over a year and the quarterback position makes it hurt that much more. This is a devastating de-commitment.” – Mike Farrell, National Recruiting Director, Rivals.com
Sting Factor: 10
Average Sting Factor: 9.7
Williams started adding some major offers following the commitment of Justin Fields to Georgia and it became apparent that it was going to be tough for Kentucky to hang onto his commitment. After an official visit to Miami, it appears the Canes are in a great place to land him, but he still has trips to Auburn and Ohio State on the schedule. As far as Kentucky, former Oregon quarterback Terry Wilson is on the radar as are some other prospects.