Williams assesses Boise State visit

Jamaal Williams

Last week, running back Jamaal Williams flew up to Boise State, a college that has offered him a full-ride scholarship, to take in the campus and attend a camp. He had already been to BYU's Junior Day, where he was wowed by an eye-popping and unexpected experience that set the standard for college program evaluations. So how did Boise State compare? Well, we'll let Williams explain.

Last week, Jamaal Williams flew out to Idaho to take a look around the Boise State campus and take in what the college has to offer. Much like during his BYU visit, Williams learned more than expected.

"It was a good experience to see how it was at Boise State," Williams said. "It was a little like being up at Utah, but a little smaller. The campus is a real compact campus and it's not really big. It would be really easy for me to get to my classes and whatnot, and I learned they really want you to succeed and learn what you're shooting for."

However, Williams' tour of Boise State's academic standards and learning opportunities were cut short due to the camp.

"I really didn't get a chance to see the academics tour, I just saw the buildings from outside," he said. "It was really kind of a quick in and out tour because I was really there for their camp."

Much like on Williams' previous visit to BYU, his mother accompanied him on his visit to Boise State.

"She liked it and thought it would be a great place to be," Williams said. "She really liked how they care about your education and all."

While touring the campus, Williams was taken to 30,000-seat Bronco Stadium, where he was able to walk on Boise State's famous blue turf.

"I liked it and it was a great experience to be on the blue field," he said. "That was one of my goals, was to actually get on the blue field. It felt kind of different. The whole facility was really good though. They had an indoor facility, which was a great experience. The weight room was great too."

While Williams has an offer from Boise State – one of the more successful FBS programs in Academic Progress Rank rankings – the program has received three running back commits. This will play a factor in the recruiting process for Williams.

"Yeah, it has a little bit of an impact because now Boise State is trying to look at me to play on the other side of the ball," Williams said. "They're looking at me now as a linebacker."

Although Williams doesn't mind entertaining the notion of switching from running back to linebacker, his first priority is to stay on the offensive side of the ball.

"I really don't have a problem with it, but my first priority is to be a running back first," he said. "That's what I've always wanted to be, but I just got to get used to the fact that I might be a linebacker because I'm only 16 and I'm still going to grow. I still have a lot of time to grow, and so I might have to get used to just being a linebacker one day."

BYU, however, is recruiting Williams to play running back, his first love. So, having to get used to the idea of playing linebacker would only be necessary if he commits to Boise State.

"Boise State tried me out to see what I can do," Williams said. "They wanted to see what I can do and what I can bring to the table as a linebacker. They want to see me at either outside linebacker or at safety. It really doesn't matter, as long as I feel comfortable at what I'm doing, but my first priority is playing running back because that's what I already do well."

Having visited two schools now in BYU and Boise State, Williams has a good idea of what they both provide. So, the question is, did his visit to Boise State surpass his experience at BYU?

"It didn't really reach the same expectations as BYU," Williams said. "One feels like a little camp and the other feels like a big-time program. The people were really kind at BYU. They would say hi to you even though they don't know you really.

"At Boise, you really have to really go up to people and talk to them to get to know them, but the whole football program up there is pretty good. The football program might have surpassed BYU this past year a little, but that's the only thing they've really got on them a little bit. Their whole record this past year is really the only thing."

When sifting through his experiences at the two schools and making a comparison, something hard to explain about his time at BYU stood out to him.

"The only thing that is different is there are things I can't really explain but can just feel, so most of what I think comes from the feeling I get," Williams said. "Boise State was a little more the uniforms and gloves and accessories they have, but I just really have feelings for the BYU aspect and how they look at things. Boise State doesn't really match up with some of the simple things that matter. They're number two behind BYU right now."

BYU is currently his top school for various reasons, including the standard of living that's found there.

"I just loved BYU and the standards and expectations. I especially love the honor code. I've been asking other coaches from different schools about their honor code. Most of them just tell me they don't have it. Most don't really care about an honor code."

Next stop in Williams' tour: San Diego State.

"I'm going to San Diego State, I think, next weekend," Williams said. "I'm going to look for the same things like honor code, tradition, the program and type of coaches and how I'm going to fit into the program and with the people around the school. I'm going to look at how I can contribute to the team and try and just get an overall feeling. That's important to me."

After visiting San Diego State next weekend, Williams might decide it's time to pull the trigger.

"Yeah, I think so because these are my top three schools," he said. "I'm probably going to be close. My teammate Donte Deayon [5-foot-10-inch cornerback] committed to Boise State already, and that got me thinking because he's just relieved it's all over now and doesn't have to worry about anything anymore. I might make a decision after the San Diego State visit."

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