For all the star ratings and target boards, recruiting can simply be a matter of timing, and the timing couldn’t have worked out better for Oklahoma and junior college running back Damien Williams (San Diego/Arizona Western College).
Williams became yet another California native to sign with Oklahoma, sending in his national letter of intent to the Sooners on Wednesday.
Williams was set, committed to Arizona State until the Sun Devils underwent coaching changes. OU was set at running back, had good depth at the spot until Jermie Calhoun and Jonathon Miller left the team in the middle of the season.
But it was the departure of Brandon Williams that opened the door for Damien Williams. With Brandon Williams transferring to Texas A&M to be closer to his daughter, Damien Williams skyrocketed up OU’s wish list.
“I’m biased because I’ve coached him, but there is no doubt in my mind Damien was the best juco player in the nation this season,” Arizona Western coach Tom Minnick said.
Williams was the last question mark for OU as the Sooners finished incredibly strong, earning seven commitments since Sunday for a current class of 26.
Arizona State was in the mix, but as it entered into crunch time, it was clear it was a two-team battle between OU and Texas Tech.
Williams visited OU on Jan. 20, followed by a trip to the Red Raiders last weekend. The Sooners looked like the easy favorite until the Tech trip. It made the battle that much tougher, but it was one that OU was still able to pull out.
Williams felt right at home in Norman, Okla., spending time with the “Cali trio” of Brennan Clay, Kenny Stills and Tony Jefferson.
Williams said it meant a lot to him to see how Clay reacted in a positive way during Williams’ visit because they will both be vying for playing time.
What sets Williams apart from other backs, said Minnick, is his ability to catch balls out of the backfield.
“He’s fast and physical as a runner, but that’s not all he is,” Minnick said. “He wasn’t just the best running back on our team, but he was probably our best wide receiver, too. He is the complete package.”
Williams is the fourth running back for OU’s 2012 class. He is joined by seventh-ranked Alex Ross (Jenks, Okla./Jenks), three-star slot back Daniel Brooks (Rockdale, Texas/Rockdale) and three-star all-purpose back David Smith (Midlothian, Ill./Bremen).