The Arizona Wildcats have reinvigorated their in-state recruiting under new head coach Kevin Sumlin.
The ‘Cats have two players from Arizona committed in their 2019 class so far, with a few more who could join the class before all is said and done.
One such prospect is 3-star athlete Jalen Williams from Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix.
Williams, who plays receiver, linebacker, and safety, had 28 catches for 616 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior, plus 98 tackles including nine for a loss.
We caught up with the versatile recruit to discuss his recruitment and how his offseason has gone. (The conversation has been lightly edited for clarity.)
AZ Desert Swarm: How was the spring for you? What aspects of your game do you feel you improved upon?
Jalen Williams: It was good. I played basketball most of the spring but I think my game can improve with speed and strength. I’m undersized, as people say, for a linebacker meaning I don’t look as strong as some of these top linebackers in the country.
You mention your weight and strength as aspects you want to work on. What is your current weight and what would you like to play at this season?
Williams: I’m currently weighing in at 185, but I want to get up to 200-205 by the end of football season. I want to play safety. It’s what I’m getting recruited as the most. You will see me moving around the field just to be a playmaker that my coach wants me to be.
Have you gone to any camps so far this summer? Are you looking to participate in any?
Williams: I haven’t been to any individual camps and I’m not go to be participating in any camps. I’ve made this decision since my freshman year, that my senior year I wasn’t going to any camps. I might get hurt and be out, you know? Anything can happen. I would rather get hurt working out than go to a camp and get hurt. I decided not to take that risk.
Moving on to your recruitment, how many offers are you up to and who is on your list?
Williams: I’m up to 11 offers now. I am holding offers from ASU, UofA, San Diego State, Rice, Utah, Oregon State, Fresno State, Washington State, Iowa State, UNLV, and Nevada.
Out of those schools, who is standing out the most to you?
Williams: It’s truly a blessing to receive all these offers but, honestly, I can’t answer that question at the moment. All these schools have been good to me and I just haven’t taken enough visits to decide who stands out the most.
You visited Arizona in the spring. How did that visit go for you? What were your thoughts on the visit?
Williams: They treated me as if I was already a part of the team, like I’ve been there for three years already. All of the coaches were real. The facilities and the campus are beautiful. I got a lot of love out in Tucson on the visit.
You picked up your offer from the ‘Cats after your visit. How did that come to fruition for you?
Williams: It was confusing at first. People asked me why I would take a visit to a school that I wasn't offered by. It was a surprising question but it was also a misunderstanding on my side. I was offered before (my visit) but it wasn’t made clear until the day I took the offer. Just a simple misunderstanding.
As we talked about before you visited Tucson in the spring. What other visits are you looking at taking? Do you have a timeframe for a decision?
Williams: Pretty much going to take as many visits as I can. And I want to make a decision on my senior night.
Williams is a solid athlete. He has the versatility to play outside linebacker or safety on defense but can also play receiver on offense. He projects better as a safety at the next level and that’s what he is being recruited as.
He went up to NAU in Flagstaff for a camp but did not participate. He talked with Arizona’s staff while there but hasn’t talked to them much since then. He is hoping to hear more from the staff in the future.
Williams is a solid wide receiver prospect and I personally like him better there. But colleges are recruiting him at safety and he is a solid prospect there as well. His skills as a receiver help him in coverage and allow him to make plays on the ball. He has a lot of speed which allows him to fly to the ball and attack it. As mentioned earlier, he finished his junior season with 98 tackles, nine for loss, and an interception. His MaxPreps stats also say he had 218 tackles and 32 for a loss during his sophomore season, so there’s that.
Below are his junior highlights: