Saturday, December 23, 2017

Pooka’ Williams: ‘I managed to be a man of my word’

Louisiana RB heard plenty of LSU pitches

Kansas University football recruiting

Kansas University football recruiting


A popular young man around the Hahnville High campus and Boutte, La., community the past several months, running back Anthony “Pooka” Williams heard countless pitches from those he encountered in the heart of LSU country.

Of course, the new Kansas football signee told The Times-Picayune, those interactions tended to be opinionated and distinctly pro-Tigers.

"It was very crazy," Williams said after picking KU over both LSU and Nebraska on Friday, the third and final day of the December early signing period. "I just took all that in consideration. They're not going to be at the college. I'll be at the college, so I didn't let any of that bother me.”

According to the 5-foot-10, 170-pound, three-star back, the coaching staffs at both Nebraska and LSU — a little more than an hour drive from Hahnville High, where Williams rushed for 3,118 yards and 37 touchdowns as a senior — made strong pushes before he stuck to the pledge he gave Kansas back in February.

"It was very close, very close but I had to maintain my commitment," Williams said.

Ultimately, the newest Jayhawk — just like four-star New Orleans cornerback Corione Harris, who signed with Kansas Wednesday — referenced his relationship with KU associate head coach Tony Hull, a Louisiana native, as a major factor in his recruitment.

“It played a big role, because when we talk, we talk like we’re family,” Williams said of KU’s running backs coach during an interview with Louisiana reporters.

Once Williams arrives in Lawrence, the coveted prospect will have to compete with KU running backs Khalil Herbert, Dom Williams and Taylor Martin for playing time and carries in the backfield, but it’s conceivable he could also factor into the passing game, as well.

“I’m expecting to come in there and be the man, like in Hahnville,” Williams said of his hopes. “They want me to be an all-around athlete.”

After Williams declined to sign a letter of intent on either of the first two days of the early signing period, many wondered whether he would put off an official decision until February. However, he explained he wanted to finish his recruiting process in December, which long had been his plan.

“I’ve been just feeling Kansas. That’s where my heart was,” Williams explained. “I stayed true to my commitment since Day 1. It was very hard, but I managed to be a man of my word.”

His coach at Hahnville, Nick Saltaformaggio, who saw Williams carry the Tigers to within one win of a 5A state title, thinks his running back, New Orleans’ Metro Player of the Year, is talented enough to “change a program.”

"I know he's going to need a little bit more help in college,” Saltaformaggio told The Times-Picayune, “obviously than he did in high school, and we had some really good players around him. But he's the kind of guy if he's got good football players around him he can be electric."


Michael Maris 4 years, 11 months ago

The good thing about the early signing period is, the players that now have signed their respective LOI's can allow the coaching staff to focus harder on the last few player's that need to be recruited for the long term success of this program (like the remaining available high school OL'man). Focus on building the long term OL stability.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 11 months ago

And getting Miles Emery, DE from BVN, to follow through on his commitment.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 11 months ago

LSU's biggest problem in the future will be Tulane. Don't be surprised if Hull is working for Willie Fritz by this time next year. That program is on the rise and actually could become a force within three years at the non P5 level.

Meanwhile, we'll be looking for a new coach and Fritz will no longer be available. Time to start getting cozy with Bo Pellini.

And, by the way Pookah, I very much respect your mission to be a man who does what he says he's going to do. But you certainly have a right to change your mind in life. It's part of the growing process and you can still maintain a high level of personal integrity.

Chris Bailey 4 years, 11 months ago

While I agree he has the right to change his mind I will say committing to and then on signing day choosing some other school would have been a slap in the face. If he were unsure he should have decommitted. I understand it happens all the time but if you are not 100% then decommitting is the best option. If not you risk losing that integrity you mention. Just my opinion but your word is a pretty important thing to me and if you say something you should stick to it. Of course you can change your mind but it would take some pretty extenuating circumstances to get someone to change their commitment last minute without them having had a chance to think through it.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 11 months ago

LSU isn't worried about Tulane, and if Fritz is good enough there to even remotely become threatening, he'll be gone in no time.

John Brazelton 4 years, 11 months ago

Brett, KU is going to start winning next season, just how many remains to be seen. Let's hope our offensive linemen hit the weight room really hard in the off-season. Also hope we can sign the Louisiana JUCO QB in the coming weeks. We need another option in the QB room next season.

David Kemp 4 years, 11 months ago

We don’t need another qb, we need a qb

Jeff Coffman 4 years, 11 months ago

So Beaty after three years, decided 2018 was the year we would start winning, because I thought he said that before the 2017 season.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 11 months ago

He had to lie to sell tickets. I Give him a break. This team was decimated. We redshirted 12 players last year and this squad is now in waves two years apart. The Junior class will be big next year and because we had 12 redshirts this past year this years Freshman class will eventually end up solid as well because of the three year transfers we are recruiting plus getting a few top recruits.

Jeff Coffman 4 years, 11 months ago

Honesty is optional when you are building things the right way?

Austin Lopez 4 years, 11 months ago

UPDATED: My list of college coaches who should replace Beaty when he is fired: Frank Wilson (UTSA head football coach) UTSA went 6-5 this season but most of their loses came by 3-7 points. Was a ace recruiter under Les Miles at LSU. Scott Satterfield (Appalachian state head football coach) His team went 8-4 this season and has improved every year since he has been there. Jason Candle (Toledo head football coach) Led his team to a 11-2 record this season, is facing off vs Scott Satterfield right now on ESPN during the dollar general bowl, they faced off last season and Scott Satterfield went home with the W. Neal Brown (Troy head football coach) Finished 11-2 this season, knocked off a 25 ranked LSU team this season 24-21.

Jeff Coffman 4 years, 11 months ago

Why wouldn't Les Miles be ahead of the names you listed. He basically handed Gundy the OSU team, and did a great job at LSU.

Austin Lopez 4 years, 11 months ago

Because in my previous list about a month or two ago I believe I mentioned Les Miles along with other heavyweight names in the coaching industry. I said UPDATED as the first word to the paragraph for a reason bud, these are coaches I have not mentioned before.

Jeff Coffman 4 years, 11 months ago

Shows how tough it is to get and keep a recruit. Three teams, and I would imagine that growing up in Louisiana and having the team you likely grew up cheering for is one that is interested in you. I'm glad he is coming to Kansas, but it shows how difficult it is to identify, attract, retain, and get signed these top athletes. Again Kudos to Beaty and his team for getting this recruit at Kansas.

Austin Lopez 4 years, 11 months ago

Rephrase that "Kudos to Tony Hall for getting this recruit at Kansas."

Raymond Wright 4 years, 11 months ago

so all the losses are Beaty. But all the good things are his assistants.

Ashwin Rao 4 years, 11 months ago

That, my friend, is called leadership. Buck stops at Beaty, but he won't be effective without people like Tony Hall. Beaty should get credit for getting Tony to be a part of the team, but that is besides the point. The more important point is success/failure of the program for Beaty.

Jeff Coffman 4 years, 11 months ago

I believe leadership comes from the top. Beaty and team brought in this recruit. Beaty gets credit for these recruits that are signing. The principle holds true with Zenger and his hiring practices at KU and why I am so against Girod as well. You can't pick and choose what people are accountable for if it is in their list of responsibilities. Beaty is responsible for Football and basically has been unsuccessful. Zenger makes Beaty look good, because he hired two coaches that have been highly unsuccessful, and in both cases had some options that were interested at least in Kansas and have appeared to do well elsewhere. Girod is looking bad now, because whether people like it or not, sports is generally the best advertisement for a university. The sports programs are spinning under Zenger's leadership and Girod has been hesitant to do anything about it. The signs our pointing to some disappointing leadership under Girod. After announcing a Volleyball renovation, two days later he had to renounce it, not evaluating a football or AD, only collecting $20 of a $70MM goal on football. Everything is falling behind, and it is under Girod's leadership.

Bryson Stricker 4 years, 11 months ago

Austin you are soooooo stupid it's almost disgraceful to say you are stupid.

1) you can't even spel the coaches name right.

2) Beaty recruited Tony Hull knowing what he could do. THATS A HEAD COACHES JOB. Stop taking credit away from Beaty.

3) please stop posting here, your list of coaches is asinine and I wouldn't even want most of them.

Jeff Coffman 4 years, 11 months ago

I enjoy people that have differing opinions. I don't enjoy when people start out a discussion with you are ignorant or stupid. This actually is detrimental to your argument. I usually tend to agree with you on things regarding our football program, and agree with your points, not with how you initiated the discussion.

As something to help your point, you may want to "spell" the words correctly when you are telling someone about their spelling errors. "That's" just a good practice.

Justin Kruse 4 years, 11 months ago

Sounds like a smart young man with the right mentality. Rock Chalk!

Austin Lopez 4 years, 11 months ago

@Bryson If you don’t like what I post feel free to skip past my comments. And tell me how many MAC teams did Kansas lose to this season? And tell me how many of those teams did Toledo HC beat this year? I’ll gladly take any of them coaches over Beaty. Are you mad your boy Beaty is failing? By the way at the same exact time next year you’ll be getting a early Christmas present when beaty will be packing his bags.

Edward Daub 4 years, 11 months ago

When Saltaformaggio Speaks , KU Fans Better Listen!

3,118 Yards and 37 Touchdowns speaks Volumes!

"Pooka" must be "Quick as a Hiccup"! (KU Slogan from mid 1970's)

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