Cherry Hill (NJ) defensive back Rodney Williams commitment didn't come as a big surprise after he spoke so highly of Syracuse upon receiving an offer. He indicated he might move up his time frame, which was originally set to August.
Williams moved it up much further than anticipated, committing to the Orange just one day after being offered during a camp.
The commitment is big for Syracuse on two fronts. First of all, it helps to reestablish the New Jersey pipeline. That was lost during the Greg Robinson administration, and the Orange have been fighting to get back into the talent rich state ever since. Williams is one of two prospects that could select the Orange soon, along with linebacker Jason Cabinda.
Grabbing commitments from those two players would not signal that Syracuse is back to being a major player in New Jersey, but it is a step in the right direction. It helps to develop that relationship with high school coaches, and gives future prospects someone with whom they can relate.
Secondly, Cabinda gives Syracuse their first defensive back commitment in 2014. They had not had a lot of success in that area as of yet, missing on a few targets and falling out of the running for others. While it was not panic mode yet, safety was becoming an increasingly important position.
Williams' commitment helps solve that issue. His experience in high school is playing corner, but the Syracuse staff believes he has the skill set to transition to safety very well at the collegiate level.
His speed is solid, and he is smooth in coverage. Despite being under 6-feet tall, he plays physical at the line of scrimmage. That should bode well for his transition to safety. Williams has only been playing defensive back for four months, and has a lot of upside.
Syracuse isn't likely done at safety just yet. Another addition would be ideal, and the Orange are still looking for help at cornerback. But adding Williams is a good start and prevents the staff from having to look at second tier prospects a bit early.