Arguably the biggest commitment for Syracuse in the last five years, Bethlehem (PA) Liberty High wide receiver K.J. Williams ultimately chose the place that was the most comfortable. It's easy to see why. Rarely is a four star prospect able to choose a school with multiple relatives either on the roster or verbally committed.
A.J. Long stated as much throughout Williams' recruitment.
"If he were to go anywhere else it wouldn't make sense," Long explained. "He can't go anywhere else and have what he has here. He doesn't have the family to watch out for him."
Long and Williams being cousins has been discussed at length throughout Williams' recruitment, and understandably so. The two have discussed playing together at the next level for years. They are close friends in addition to being relatives, and have maintained that relationship despite Long moving to Tennessee.
Having his close friend and relative in his ear certainly helped Syracuse land Williams. But underestimated is the impact of current Orange receiver Jarrod West. He is also Williams cousin, and that comfort level also helped the recruitment of the 6-foot-3 prospect.
In the end, having Long and West at Syracuse was very important. You see, Williams is more reserved than his quarterback cousin. He's not the boastful, diva type receiver that has become par for the course at the position. Especially among the more talented.
So for a player looking for the right fit, family became vital. Having Long there with him to take all the same classes and give him that immediate comfort level within the program cannot be understated. Having his other cousin, who is also a wide receiver, to learn from for his first year on campus seals the deal.
Yes the Orange program was attractive. Yes George McDonald, Scott Shafer, Rob Moore and Eric White all played significant roles in helping to land the four star receiver. Without their efforts, Williams is not at Syracuse. But make no mistake about it. Family matters.