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Friday, December 22, 2017

RB ‘Pooka’ Williams signs with Kansas football, instead of LSU or Nebraska

Kansas University football recruiting

Kansas University football recruiting

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The first player from the Class of 2018 to commit to the University of Kansas football program, running back Anthony “Pooka” Williams took a couple extra days in the December early signing period to contemplate making that choice official.

In the end, Williams stuck to the pledge he made more than 10 months earlier, announcing Friday morning at a ceremony near his hometown of Boutte, La., he would become a Jayhawk, while penning his name to the official paperwork.

Rated a three-star prospect by Rivals, the Hahnville High standout chose KU, despite efforts from LSU and Nebraska — his other finalists — to sway his decision.

Williams carried Hahnville all the way to Louisiana’s Class 5A title game before the team’s run ended with a loss to Zachary.

During his electrifying senior season, Williams rushed for 3,118 yards and 37 touchdowns. In the playoffs alone (five games), Williams produced just under 1,400 yards and scored 14 touchdowns.

Four-star New Orleans cornerback Corione Harris, who signed with KU two days earlier, attended Williams' signing, as did Kansas safety Mike Lee and receiver Takulve Williams, both of whom also call New Orleans home. All were recruited by the KU staff’s Louisiana native, associate head coach Tony Hull.

Both Williams and Harris helped KU surprise the recruiting world this past February, when they and other touted Louisiana prospects from the Class of 2018 committed to sign with the Jayhawks. However, they proved to be the only two from “The Boot” to follow through with those non-binding commitments.

Listed at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, Williams is considered the 11th-best all-purpose back in the country, according to Rivals. Woody Wommack, Rivals’ southeast recruiting analyst, explained why signing the Louisiana back was “huge” for Kansas.

“This is a guy who reminds me a lot of LaMichael James, if we’re talking about his skill set,” Wommack said, referencing a former four-star running back who signed with Oregon and became a second-round NFL draft pick in 2012. “He’s fast. Not the biggest guy in the world, but extremely tough. I mean, he’s a tough runner. Down the stretch of the season he had several 300-yard games in the playoffs, led his team all the way to the state championship in Louisiana, where they ended up losing in the end, because they kind of ran out of gas.

“But still, in the game I went to,” Wommack added, “he carried the ball 20, 25 times and just takes a pounding and gets up every time no matter how big the hit. Even if he’s limping around a little bit he’s going to tough it out. That’s exactly the type of guy Kansas needs — the kind of guy that can carry your offense.”

Attaining Williams’ signature on the final day of the new December early signing period made him the fifth prep in KU’s 2018 class to officially join the program. Head coach David Beaty and his staff also picked up signatures from nine junior college players and a graduate transfer.

The 15-player class will inevitably grow in February, when prospects again are allowed to sign letters of intent.

The only Kansas recruiting target who committed but has yet to sign is Blue Valley North defensive end Miles Emery.

KU football’s Class of 2018 signees

JUNIOR COLLEGE

Three-star prospects

• Charles Cole (6-3, 280; DT; Butler Community College)

• Foster Dixson (6-4, 250; DE; West Los Angeles C.C.)

• Elmore Hempstead Jr. (5-11, 175; CB; Fort Scott C.C.)

• Elijah Jones (6-1, 175; CB; Ellsworth C.C.)

• Azur Kamara (6-4, 225; DE; Arizona Western College)

• Jeremiah McCullough (6-0, 205; S; Hartnell College)

• Stephon Robinson (5-10, 170; WR; El Camino C.C.)

• Najee Stevens-McKenzie (6-3, 225; DE; ASA College)

Two-star prospect

• Davon Ferguson (5-10, 190; S; Hartnell College)

HIGH SCHOOL

Four-star prospect

• Corione Harris (6-1, 170; CB; Landry-Walker High)

Three-star prospects

• Anthony “Pooka” Williams (5-10, 170; RB; Hahnville High)

• Nick Williams (6-8, 265; OL; Ritenour High)

Two-star prospects

• Mac Copeland (6-4, 245; OL; Wichita Collegiate)

• Jacobi Lott (6-4, 309; OL; Tascosa High)

GRADUATE TRANSFER

• Mavin Saunders (6-5, 256; TE; Florida State)

None by Amos Morale III

None by Amos Morale III

None by #LooseScrew!

None by Bruce Feldman

Comments

Joe Norgay 11 months ago

Big get! Only problem is Beaty is his head coach so he could rush for 200 yards and then get 3 carries the next games.

Nonetheless, will try to be positive and hope he can help out the next football staff.

Kevin Robert Fest 11 months ago

Lol yes Beaty is doing a great job loading up for the next coach.

Dillon Davis 10 months, 4 weeks ago

He's not as great as we thought. These Louisiana guys are all because of Tony Hull. Beaty was supposed to be bringing in Kansas kids and Texas kids, Isn't doing it. If it wasn't for Tony our last couple classes would have been horrendous. Also, we are still ranked 9th in the Big 12 and it's year 4 so...

Len Shaffer 10 months, 4 weeks ago

You said it, Dillon. Let's just hope that the next coach keeps Tony Hull around ...

Kenneth Hillman 11 months ago

Welcome to Jayhawk Nation Pooka! He's gonna kill it in a KU uniform.

Rock Chalk

John Brazelton 11 months ago

Welcome Pooka!!! Another Louisiana man who backed up his word. A very rare act in todays world of easy come, easy go!

Kevin Robert Fest 11 months ago

Big question here does Beaty play him right away because he's desperate to save his job? Or does he let him red shirt to put a little meat on his bones and get ready to play in bigger faster college football but also to let the offense of line mature in the next few years? Because without an offense of line this kid is going to look like the rest of our running backs when the season starts...under a pile.

Stephen Burtin 11 months ago

I think it depends on if we stay healthy at RB next year. We return Herbert and Dom Williams so we should have a pretty good 1-2 there if they stay healthy.

Herbert went for 663 last season and only missed 1 game. That is a 60 ypg average (663/11 games played) which is skewed by the two big breakout games he had. If they can find some guys willing to block and keep the QB and RB off the turf then maybe we can build on that number. I don't have a lot of hope for that though. I see another 1-11 season coming unfortunately.

Len Shaffer 10 months, 4 weeks ago

You're more confident than I am, Stephen. Given Beaty's track record, I'm not at all confident that KU can win any game on their schedule.

Mike Hart 11 months ago

He won't redshirt him. He will for sure return punts and/or kicks. They will find ways to get him the ball, obviously not powering ahead, straight up the gut. He's shifty

Brett McCabe 11 months ago

I agree with Bryson. The ninth rated class in a ten team conference.....if that demonstrates anything, it’s excellence in recruiting.

Stephen Burtin 11 months ago

That's not horrible considering that every other team in the Big 12 has more commits than we do at this point and we aren't very far behind the number 8 and 7 spots. When you add in that we had the worst record in the league, the recruiting seems to be the only bright spot.

Kevin Robert Fest 11 months ago

How many more scholarships in 18 do we have left to give for this class? I do believe some of the players we signed last year were grey shirted iand we're going to be moved to this class don't quote me on that I'm not quite sure but I do believe I read that somewhere

Stephen Burtin 10 months, 4 weeks ago

I honestly don't know. There was an article a while back that said we had 84 players on scholarship, however, a lot of those were walk-ons that were awarded a scholarship and they do not count against the 25 player class limit.

I know that this was speculated to be a big recruiting class, so somewhere around 25, but I don't know how that all works out with the transfers and Juco guys. One recruiting site seems to think we will be going after another 5-7 players so 20-22 is my best guess, but that is in no way based on factual scholarship counts.

Tom Keegan 10 months, 4 weeks ago

The original class was either 19 or 20, can't say which for sure because they don't reveal players who count forward, unofficially known as "blue shirts." So either four or five scholarships remain.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 11 months ago

Great signing! Congrats to the players and staff. Nice to get some positive news related to football!

Andy Tweedy 11 months ago

3,118 yards his senior year? That's ridiculous!!!

Michael Sillman 11 months ago

I’m actually surprised and pleased that Beaty has put together a decent recruiting class considering the won-loss record. Clearly this will be a do or die year for Beaty. The absolute minimum win total will probably be three and one of those must be over a Big 12 team.

Kevin Robert Fest 11 months ago

But what if the rest are the usual blowouts by halftime. 3 wins with competitive losses l can take but just complete blowouts no. Not anymore. If we still have games next year like lSt and TCU he has to go. What worries me is he's trying to recruit another Juco quarterback that will be at least four or five starting quarterbacks in 3 years (Cozart, Willis, Stanley, Bender and ?) Not good.

Mike Hart 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Kev: For the record: Beaty inherited Cozart and Willis. They committed to KU in 2014 before the football season while Weis was still coach. He didn't really have a choice for another QB in 2015 season, as Beaty himself was a Dec 2014 KU hire.

Kevin Robert Fest 10 months, 4 weeks ago

No Willis was a 2015 recruit l just checked the 24/7 Web page. It doesn't matter when though really we could have ANOTHER QB starting this year. No continuity at the position. He has to let it play out this year not just pick his favorite then refuse to name a starter. We could be in trouble next year regardless of who the running back is if our choices are Stanley and Bender at QB unless they've improved significantly over the next 9 months.

Jeff Coffman 10 months, 4 weeks ago

The expectation should be for KU to beat every DII school and every non-P5 team on their schedule. This should be an every year expectation. David Beaty and his predecessors have driven that bar too far down. I would agree that we should have at least one Big XII win a year. The minimum win total should be four. However, Beaty set the bar this year at 6, which he clearly did not meet.

Richard Duran 11 months ago

Wow. does Takulve wearing that shirt mean he signed too?

Jeff Coffman 10 months, 4 weeks ago

These are the recruits that will benefit KU in the long run. Congratulations to the KU coaching staff and those involved with getting this fine recruit.

John Fitzgerald 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Great job doing 1/10 of your job, Beaty. Or should I say good job hiring a guy to do 1/10 of your job. Now let’s hope he can do the rest and get some wins on the board. And if not, the next coach will at least have some studs.

Maria Ungaro 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Welcome to the KU family Pooka. Glad your a Jayhawk....

2 years from now when KU is playing Missouri in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas we will all look back and say the greatest move Coach Beaty made was hiring Coach Tony Hull.

I just hope most of the Juco guys can start winter training and compete in the Spring game.

RockChalk Jayhawks KU

Kevin Robert Fest 10 months, 4 weeks ago

I believe most of the players who sign in rthe early period are expected to enroll early in time for spring practice.

Bryson Stricker 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Also for all of you who were making a mockery because teams like UAB who got their program shutdown, went 6-6 this year.

They are getting obliterated 41-6 in the Bahamas Bowl right now by Ohio whom we were at least within a ballpark of.

I don't disregard how bad our on the field presence is but rebuilding in this conference the route we took is just not an overnight thing. Also doesn't help that our coach doesn't know how to coach on saturdays but still lol.

John Fitzgerald 10 months, 4 weeks ago

-67th in Passing

-124th in Rushing

-109th in Points For

-129th in Points Against

-108th in Defense Efficiency

-121st in Offense Efficiency

-124th in Special Teams

-127th in Turnover Margin

Please, tell me more about how bad other teams are.

Jeff Coffman 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Within the ballpark? That must have been one big ballpark...we were down 39-14 entering the 4th quarter, we may have added a last second touchdown, but we were not close in that game.

Kevin Robert Fest 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Ok Bryson thank you for stating the obvious and lm not being sarcastic but how many more Saturdays should he be given?

Comparing UAB to Kansas is not an apt comparison. We are in the position we are in because of bad coaching decisions. UAB had their whole program shut down and basically started from scratch. Ill bet with this team they wouldnt go 6-6 in whatever conference UAB is in. And I don't mean they would be better than 6-6.

Some of UABs recruits are higher ranked than ours and they got them to go to UAB after the program shut down. Our program just stinks.

Bryson Stricker 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Dude we would obliterate C-USA for the most part. Get out of here with your ignorance. We'd be 8-4 EASY and all of our losses would come because Beaty can't coach, not because of lack of talent.

Our talent level surpasses that whole conference except for THE FaU.

You clearly don't watch jacksh** for CFB if you think those teams have more talent than us lol.

Jeff Coffman 10 months, 4 weeks ago

We were 0-2 against MAC schools and we let a DII school stay with us through the entire game at home.

I think you are much more optimistic about our chances in CUSA than most of us believe.

Kevin Robert Fest 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Lol you just said that Beaty can't coach and said that we would win 8 games all in the same sentence. Who is ignorant? We would not win 8 games we also have lack of talent especially on the O line and secondary and quarterback. .

Edward Daub 10 months, 4 weeks ago

I Dub Today "MAC Teams that beat KU" Bowl Day!

Yes, Ohio wins big in the Bahamas Bowl!

No, CMU is behind Wyoming in the Idaho Potato Bowl.

Yes, Zach Burks signed with Ohio. Bobcat Fans are chanting "QB's can't Lurk 'Cause here comes Burks!

No, I lack knowledge of the Origin of the Nickname "Pooka"! Welcome!!

Finally, I noticed where Gonzalez made 1st Team NAIA All America. Beaty dismissed Speedy for Violation of Team Rules. That was probably a tough decision for David.

Jeff Coffman 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Thank goodness we only played two MAC teams this year.

David Kemp 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Speaking of qbs we need one desperately. One that can win and play more like Reesing. Right now that guy hasn’t been on the field for us. Neither Bender or Stanley are starting qbs as power 5 players. Hope we find one to sign by feb

David Kemp 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Is Lindsey Scott jr still unsigned? I push for this guy bad.

Andy Godwin 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Just celebrate a young man who stuck to his commitment in the face of many opportunities and will be representing our school. Wonderful to see Mike Lee and Corione Harris at Pooka Williams signing. Team chemistry is also part of the equation and it is nice to see them supporting each other. Rock chalk.

Michael Maris 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Figure out a way to hire Trooper Taylor as an Assistant Coach. He's a recruiting guru as well. His son has exhausted all of his eligibility at Arkansas State. So, Trooper may be looking for a change of scenery and better paychecks.

Jeff Coffman 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Let's focus on the head coach first, than we can focus on the recruiting aspects.

Jack Joiner 10 months, 4 weeks ago

I don't know who Pooka's OT #77 is, but that fella is one large man.

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