3-star RB was sure about Cougs then, and now

IT'S A LOCK for running back James Williams. And it's nice, he says, when that initial instinct proves correct. The three-star recruit out of Burbank, Calif. has been verbally committed to Washington State since May. When USC tried to entice him this past summer with a come-to-our-camp-maybe-earn-a-Trojan-offer, he turned them down. And this weekend, he says, made it clear he made the right call.

The 5-11, 185-pound Williams out of Burbank High said Sunday his visit to Pullman made it even more clear about why he will sign with WSU on Signing Day (Feb. 4).

Williams raved about his Wazzu visit, saying he loved hanging out with the players, especially fellow running back Jamal Morrow. He also loved his time with the coaching staff and learned a lot from the film session he had with Cougar running backs coach Jim Mastro.

The Cougs will see Williams again in a couple days, when Mastro and head man Mike Leach visit Williams on Tuesday.

"That makes me feel good because even though I committed, they still come and check on me," Williams said. "They check on me every now and then, and they'll come down to the house. That makes me feel good. That's the reason why I'm coming, like 100 percent coming here, because they care. They just want the best for me."

After Williams verballed to WSU, Southern Cal started showing him the recruiting love in June before his senior year. He said USC wanted him to go to one of the Trojans' camps that summer. But Williams said he did not want to do that, and made it clear to USC that he wanted to be a Cougar. He said the Trojans never extended an offer to him, instead telling him he would only be offered if he performed well at their camp. The in early September, Williams suffered a torn ACL and MCL in the second game of the season.

His visit to Wazzu was delayed until now as he's been healing up after surgery. Williams said Sunday WSU is the only visit he will take, and that his parents also loved Washington State so much this weekend that the decision is a no-brainer.

"Everything, it has. It felt amazing. It's safe, it's a good environment, and I just felt like I'm going to be good there. I was very comfortable when I got there. I was shy at first and quiet but then everybody just made me feel at home," Williams said.

When asked about his favorite part of the trip, Williams said he was floored by the new facilities on the Washington State campus. The tour of the football complex blew Williams away, he said, the best he has seen in his life.

Expect Williams to spend a lot of time in or near that complex because the coaching staff has told him despite the rehab that remains on his knee he still has a legitimate chance to play immediately this coming season and as a part of a rotation with Morrow and Gerard Wicks. Williams said he is going to work as hard as he can to join that rotation and like most incoming true freshman, he'd love to play rather than redshirt in Year One.

Williams said he is recovering well from his knee surgery and that he is healing faster than expected. He said he believes he will be ready to go by the time fall camp begins in August.

There's always a lot of chatter out on the recruiting trail from opposing coaches when it comes to running backs: 'Why would you want to go there, they pass the ball?' but Williams said he's in lock-step with Mike Leach's goal of wanting his running backs to lead the league in all-purpose yards with a high number of catches coming out of the backfield. Indeed, Williams said he doesn't care if he'll be running the ball or catching it at WSU, and he is confident in his receiver skills.


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