Clemson gained a verbal commitment from 4-star wide receiver EJ Williams on Saturday afternoon. Williams joins Clemson from familiar Phenix City, Alabama (Central) and is 6-3, 188 pounds. He is the #20 ranked wide receiver in the 2020 class per the 247Sports Composite and the #91 player overall. Williams chose the Tigers over blue blood programs Alabama, Auburn, and LSU.
Williams has been a top of the board target at WR since he was initially offered in July 2018. He has visited the campus several times for games, junior days, and most recently during the All In Cookout. The connection with his former Central teammates Ray Thornton and Justyn Ross undoubtedly played a pivotal role in his comfort with the program and ultimately gave WRU the inside track to winning this recruitment.
This marks the third consecutive season that Clemson has been able to go into Phenix City, target a recruit, and earn their commitment. Using the Alabama ties on the coaching staff, Clemson has successfully created a recruiting pipeline into the defending state champion’s high school in Alabama’s highest classification. This relationship should continue to pay dividends for years to come.
EJ’s measurables include a 4.66 40-yard dash, 4.28 shuttle, and a drool inducing 37 inch vertical leap. While those aren’t combine freak numbers, they are certainly good enough for an individual to contribute at the P5 level.
Turn on the tape and one immediately notices Williams’ height and length. He has excellent body control in the air during contested catches and has a knack for attacking the ball. Williams isn’t a burner but gains separation using his hands at the line of scrimmage and makes quick breaks out of routes. He should develop into a very reliable possession receiver who excels on 50/50 balls. He projects best as a 9 receiver.
Williams is the 20th commitment for Clemson’s #1 ranked 2020 recruiting class and the second wide receiver, joining recently committed Ajou Ajou. Xzavier Henderson remains the only other wide receiver currently with a commitable offer from Jeff Scott and company. He is expected to take make his commitment during the US Army All-American game on January 4, 2020.
You can watch Williams’ junior season highlights below:
This recruitment has been over for awhile. It was just a matter of letting the visits and process play out. Auburn tried (and failed). As the 20th commitment Clemson has a full class according to recruiting rankings and should maintain their perch as the top overall class unless a team like Georgia can make a late run or Bama is able to jettison lower ranked players for higher ones. I don’t see it happening right now.
Williams gives Clemson plus attributes across the board. He doesn’t have a single truly elite skill right now, but he doesn’t have any real deficiencies either. His frame is long and lanky at this point in his career and he will need to add a bit of bulk at the college level. He is a long strider with plus speed, but he isn’t a burner.
He is well coached at Central, HS in Alabama and knows how to get off the line and use that long stride to get open. He also is used to going up and battling for contested catches down the field in the Central offense (Ross was also well-schooled in this skill). I like his route running, particularly on inside slants, and how he can change pace on corners.
He has been a bit hot and cold at times at recruiting events. Some analysts think he isn’t physical enough, which is fair, but overstated. Some say he compares to Trevion Thompson, but he is taller and more advanced in his route running at this stage. I would definitely have EJ Williams ranked in the top 100 at this point and probably have him closer to 75. There is lots of upside for the newest member of Wide Receiver U. Give Todd Bates another Alabama notch in his recruiting belt. Bates is becoming a force on the trail.
Clemson will take Xzavier Henderson if he wants to commit (Clemson is still battling Florida), but Xzavier isn’t going to make a decision until late in the process. With the move of Derion Kendrick to defense and the likely departures of WR Tee Higgins after 2019 and Justyn Ross after 2020, taking three WRs in this class is quite sensible.