Zaire Williams, a halfback at Timber Creek High School in New Jersey who received a three-star rating from Rivals.com, committed to the West Virginia Mountaineers in July. He maintained that commitment through his senior season and the first postseason recruiting push in early December. Cracks began to appear this month, though. On Jan. 25, despite his continued commitment, Williams took an official visit to Temple. Five days later, Williams announced that he was decommitting from West Virginia and would be playing for the Owls next fall. He loved West Virginia, he said, but Temple "felt like home."
West Virginia running backs coach Robert Gillespie, who would have been Williams' position coach this fall, did not take the news well:
That's right, Coach Gillespie. You don't care if Williams is at the dance with that other guy. Seeing him doesn't hurt at all. You've been talking to this French model on Facebook, anyway, and you are really enjoying playing the field again with that open scholarship. Stay strong, Coach. Don't let him see you cry.
On its face, Gillespie's comment makes no sense: If the loss of an unsigned player was truly a gain for a football program, the coaches would have withdrawn his offer long before the player had decommitted. If there is one recruiting class that could absorb the blow, though, it is West Virginia's. With Williams, the program had six running back commitments, three who committed after Williams had given his verbal. Instead, Williams becomes the crown jewel of a new head coach's first recruting class and West Virginia breaks the potential backfield logjam. Perhaps the decommit means things are #gettingbetter for both recruit and program.