SMU added its 24th commitment to its 2016 recruiting class when Trinity Valley C.C. (Texas) defensive tackle J.T. Williams announced his pledge to the Mustangs on Monday night. Williams silently committed to SMU at the end of an official visit on Sunday morning. The official visit and experience he had on campus were the deciding factors in his decision.
“After Saturday, I pretty much had made up my mind that I wanted to be there,” Williams said. “It was a great atmosphere and I felt like I fit right in. Their defense is basically the same as the one I run at Trinity Valley. My family would be able to come and make the games too. It’s not too close to home, but it’s not too far from home.”
Williams took official visits to New Mexico State and Colorado State earlier in January, but SMU stood out to him because business school.
“I’m a business major, and their business school is one of the top in the nation, so that also played a factor in it,” Williams said. “I’d visited SMU before, but this was my first time under the new coaching staff.”
Originally a Southern Mississippi signee in 2014, Williams left the program before the start of the season and played the last two seasons at Trinity Valley. He played his high school football at Denton (Texas) Ryan, where he was teammates and good friends with current SMU commit Ken McLaurin.
“Ken’s been blowing up my phone for about two weeks trying to get me to Pony Up,” Williams said. “It’s going to be great. Ken is like a little brother to me. Behind coach Morris and coach Wyatt, Ken was the first one to know my decision.”
McLaurin’s presence was helpful, but the overall family atmosphere he felt at SMU really left an impact on him as well.
“I met some of the team, and I just felt like I had a good vibe with the coaching staff,” Williams said. “I met their families, and coach Morris is a great guy.”
In a short period of time, Williams also formed a good relationship with SMU defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt.
“He reminded me of my D-line coach at Trinity Valley, coach (Darius) Hart: I really like him; he’s like a father figure to me,” Williams said. “I just feel like he (Wyatt) can get me to where I want to be in life.”
The 6-foot-2, 290-pound Williams can play nose tackle or 3-technique defensive tackle. Part of the SMU coaches’ pitch to him was becoming an immediate contributor time along the defensive line.
Williams finished his 2015 season with 37 tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks. He will have two years of eligibility at SMU. He is the first junior college commitment in Chad Morris two recruiting classes at SMU and will sign on National Signing Day on Wednesday.