Quite often, the great athletes have a history of other great athletes in their family. Jerome, who goes by the name of Jay, is no exception.
The lineage starts with his dad who played football at Pascagoula High School, then went on to play college ball. Like Jay, speed was one of his strengths. "My dad, who played football at Pascagoula, used to run a 4.3 forty," said Jay, who runs a 4.4 forty himself.
However, it doesn't stop with his dad. "My cousin Ethan Washington played football at Stillman University. His brother, Brandon Williams, played at the University of Georgia and went on to play in the Canadian League. As a matter of fact, he played in the Grey Cup Championship last year."
Jay's even got a younger sister who, at the tender age of 12, ran for the Moss Point track team as a seventh grader this past year. "I have a younger sister that you are going to be writing about," said Jay, with obvious pride in his voice. "Her name is Maegan Williams and she just turned 13. She ran a 26 (seconds) 200 meters and made south state this past year for the varsity team. She runs the 200 meters, the 4x1, 4x2 and the 400 meters."
Don't be surprised to see college track coaches beating down the Williams' door in a few years. In the meantime, college football coaches will be wearing out a path to Moss Point to recruit her older brother, especially when you consider the number of calls Jay said he received in May. "I received calls from Southern Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn, Alabama, Marshall, Memphis and Ole Miss."
Like so many other players, Jay made the college camp scene this summer. "We went to the Mississippi State, Southern Miss and Florida State camps. I was supposed to go to the Ole Miss camp but missed my ride. I also (unofficially) visited Auburn but didn't go to their camp."
As for offers, Jay, who is being recruited primarily as a defensive back, currently claims two. "The offers that we have as of today are Mississippi State and Southern Miss. Southern Miss' is a written offer. Ole Miss was probably going to offer if I went to their camp. When their coach talked to me on the phone, he said they were ready to offer."
Jay, when asked who his favorite schools are hedged a little bit, but still named them. "I really hate to say, but my favorites are Florida State, Southern Miss, Auburn, Alabama. Miami gave me a lot of attention early but they've kind of backed off. They were one of my favorites after going to their camps two years in a row. I like Mississippi State a little bit, but they're in a rebuilding process. I would also go to Ole Miss."
Jay explained the reasons why he has each of those schools on his early recruiting list.
Florida State - "I like their winning tradition and the opportunity for exposure that an athlete can get. We spent an entire week there when we went to their camp. The facilities are state-of-the-art. They were like wow, like nothing that I have ever seen. Everything was brand new. (Miami defensive coordinator) Mickey Andrews talked to me after I did something (good). Before I left, he gave me his phone numbers and his addresses. He called me Mississippi."
Southern Miss - "They are real close (to Moss Point). I like their style of play and their tradition. Their defensive line coach is going to be my recruiter and he has been writing to me on a regular basis. (Head) Coach Bowers is down-to-earth and a really good guy. From the time we got (to their camp), until the time we left, he was involved. The thing that impresses me is when the head coach gets involved."
Auburn - "Next to Miami, they have been the one recruiting me the strongest. When I went on my visit there, I met the coaches and they are real strong on academics. I got to see their spring scrimmage and got to meet (head) Coach Tuberville. Their facilities were very nice and up-to-date, but we basically stayed at the stadium."
Alabama - "I haven't really done anything with them. They've been writing me like crazy, though. They sent me a media guide, which is very impressive."
Miami - "I like all the wrong things about them, the scenery, the beaches (laugh). Their coaches were down-to-earth and their facilities were state-of-the-art."
Mississippi State - "When we went there (for their camp), I really, really did like it and they really did like me. I talked to (my recruiting) Coach Holliday a lot. He is a great guy. The thing I liked about him more than anything is he didn't seem like a coach. He seemed like the guy in the neighborhood that wants to help everybody out. And their running back coach talked to me a lot. Right at the end, (head) Coach Croom talked to me a couple of times. When they called everybody up, he called me off to the side in front of everybody. That impressed me. But the one thing you have to remember is he has a point to prove and I'm thinking it will take two to three years for them to get over the strictness. Then, they will be able to play football."
Ole Miss - "They have been writing me a lot. I was supposed to go to their camp but missed my ride. My next door neighbor, Jesse Mitchell, played there. He and (former Ole Miss wide receiver) Jason Armstead, who goes to my church, talk about it a lot. They feel very strong about it. My sister (also) went to school there."
Look for additional updates on Jay throughout the upcoming season.
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Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.