The Hurry-Up: Four-star Wide Receiver Hykeem Williams Lands Ohio State Offer After Text from Brian Hartline Impostor

By Garrick Hodge on January 28, 2022 at 4:51 pm
Hykeem Williams

Our own Kevin Harrish wasn’t the only one who recently received a text from a fake Brian Hartline.

In case you missed it, Kevin had an interesting encounter on Monday when a scammer pretended to be Ohio State wide receivers coach Brian Hartline and claimed he needed Apple gift cards for a “presentation.”

While it’s scary scammers are apparently upping their game enough to use ploys that rely on stealing famous football coaches’ identities, fortunately Eleven Warriors got some great #content out of the whole ordeal. 

As it turns out, people pretending to be Brian Hartline via text message is apparently an epidemic spinning out of control that has now reached high school football recruits, and it’s been happening longer than just this past week.

Ohio State’s most recent 2023 wide receiver offer, four-star Florida prospect Hykeem Williams, received a text from a number he didn’t recognize a few months ago from someone claiming to be Hartline. There were some differences from the scammer that contacted Kevin, though; the text wasn’t from a number with a St. Louis area code, nor did Mr. Not Hartline try to solicit Williams into running to a grocery store to buy gift cards. Williams doesn’t even really remember the extent of the actual conversation with the number operating under a false flag. After getting the texts, though, Williams was skeptical that number was actually Hartline’s, so he reached out to the OSU wide receivers coach via direct message on Twitter.  

“I guess someone was trying to pull a prank on me or whatever,” Williams told Eleven Warriors Friday. “(Someone) texted my phone and acted like it was him. So I texted him on Twitter to see if it was him, and it wasn’t. Apparently, coach had actually been trying to text me, but he was texting my old phone number.” 

Since his unidentified impostor coincidentally handed him a direct line to a recruit he’d been hoping to get into contact with, Hartline took the opportunity to ask Williams if he was interested in Ohio State, which Williams told Hartline he was. 

From there, Hartline remained in touch with Williams over the next few months. Everything came full circle on Friday when Hartline stopped by Williams’ high school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to present an official scholarship offer. 

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound wideout was ecstatic to receive the opportunity and said he feels Ohio State could develop him well at the next level.

“It would be awesome,” Williams said of potentially playing in Ohio State’s offense. “They produce great receivers. Just knowing you’re on an offense like that would be awesome.”

Williams, who lines up primarily as an outside receiver, is ranked as the 60th-best player and the 10th-best wideout in the 2023 class. In seven games for Stranahan High School last season, Williams caught 31 passes for 693 yards and six receiving touchdowns. 

While Williams is interested in Ohio State and hopes to visit Columbus later this spring or this summer, there will be plenty of competition for his services. Williams has racked up 33 Division I offers, a list that includes Alabama, Miami, Florida, Florida State, USC, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State and Texas A&M. Williams says whichever school lands him will be pleased with his on-field performance.

“(They’ll be getting) a dawg that brings it every play,” Williams said. 

Lambert picks up OSU offer

Ohio State also offered an offensive tackle on Thursday evening, though it wasn’t via a fake Hartline proxy that we’re aware of. 

The Buckeyes continued their Massachusetts tour this week by presenting a scholarship opportunity to 2024 offensive tackle Guerby Lambert.

Lambert does not yet hold a 247Sports ranking. The 6-foot-7, 280-pound prospect currently has three Division I offers, also including Boston College and Kentucky.

Kanu in Columbus this weekend

It’s been about three weeks since 2022 defensive tackle Hero Kanu officially announced his commitment to Ohio State, though it had been official even before that, as Kanu silently signed during the Early Signing Period. 

The 6-foot-5, 293-pound Kanu, who was born in Germany but currently resides in California, announced he’d be taking a trip to Columbus this weekend. We’ll set the odds at 50/50 that he ends up in one of Javontae Jean-Baptiste’s Tik Toks. 

The cold winter weather will not deter Kanu's visit. 

Kanu, who was not one of Ohio State’s early enrollees, will officially join the team this summer, but he’ll have the opportunity to spend some time around the team this weekend.

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