The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their college careers, as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.
The last time Ohio State went to California to pull a touted prospect out of St. John Bosco, a powerhouse high school on the West Coast, it landed Wyatt Davis, a first-team All-American offensive guard.
The Williams File
- Class: 2020
- Size: 6-foot-1, 216 pounds
- Pos: LB
- School: St. John Bosco (CA)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: 11 (OLB)
The Buckeyes returned to St. John Bosco in the 2020 recruiting cycle, landing a commitment from four-star linebacker Kourt Williams on July 24. Nearly five months later, he made his decision official, signing his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday.
Williams spurned scholarship offers from a host of schools both in his region (USC, UCLA, Oregon, Utah, Washington) and nationally (Alabama, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia) to play for the Buckeyes.
Three days after Penn State extended an offer and two days after he picked up an offer from Michigan, he received an Ohio State scholarship offer on March 22 while taking an unofficial visit. In the following months, Williams took trips to Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas A&M and Tennessee before eventually making an official visit to Columbus on June 21. Five days later, he included the Buckeyes in his top five, and less than a month after that he committed.
Originally in his recruitment, Williams was viewed as a possibility to play the bullet, a hybrid linebacker-safety position implemented by Greg Mattison and the rest of the defensive coaching staff in the offseason. In April, he said that some schools were recruiting him as a linebacker and others targeting him as a safety, but the Buckeyes' newly created position "isolated" them from other teams.
Williams committed before the season even began, meaning he never saw the bullet in action before making his college decision. And based on how the Buckeyes have played defense in 2019, he might not ever call himself a bullet in Columbus.
Instead, Williams is the optimal strongside linebacker (though he is listed as a safety in Ohio State's video announcing his signing) and a possible replacement for Pete Werner when his time at Ohio State ends after the 2020 season. The strongside linebacker and the bullet are effectively the same position, as we learned the past few months.
With a 4.6-second 40-yards dash, Williams has plenty of athleticism to play the strongside spot, which requires somebody to cover tight ends and running backs, drop deep at times as a safety, blitz and play the run at different times. Experience at a program the size of St. John Bosco should allow him to pick up the responsibilities quicker than most.
“I think my football IQ is my strength,” Williams told Eleven Warriors in April. “I’m a film junkie. That’s what I do in my free time. My play recognition, my instincts, my aggression. I want to be an instant leader on the defense.”
Jeff Hafley, along with Al Washington, was one of Williams' main recruiters. However, Ryan Day visited Williams a week ago, and his commitment did not waver.
On a loaded St. John Bosco team, Williams accumulated 136 tackles, six tackles for loss and three sacks in his three seasons on the varsity team. He is expected to graduate early and enroll in the spring.