This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Having visited BYU, San Diego State and Boise State the last month or so, Fontana (Calif.) running back Jamaal Williams of Summit High School said one of those schools just seemed to have a different atmosphere, a different vibe, than the others. So on Wednesday, Williams pulled the trigger, committing to BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall via telephone to end a recruiting battle that was just starting to heat up. "It's a great opportunity for me, because BYU really, really wanted me," Williams said Wednesday night. "It felt right to me." Williams said he also had offers from Utah, Idaho and New Mexico, and was starting to draw interest from other schools as well. "Everybody at BYU was wonderful. I mean, everybody there seems to care about everybody else. That meant a lot to me," he said. The 6-foot-2 athlete, who is not LDS, said another factor was that BYU recruited him as a running back. Other schools were talking to him about playing linebacker. "I want to be a college running back," he said. Williams' high school coach, Tony Barile, said the Cougars are getting a good one. Williams rushed for 717 yards and 11 touchdowns on just 93 attempts as a junior because the Skyhawks had senior All-American Devon Blackmon, who signed with Oregon. This year, Williams should get well over 100 carries, barring injury. "Coach Mendenhall was real excited when I committed," Williams said. "He said I could be a role model for other players who are considering BYU but haven't committed yet." Offensive line coach Mark Weber was Williams' initial contact with BYU, he said. Williams, who carries a 3.3 grade point average, said the fact that he's going to a school owned and operated by the Mormon church "means nothing to me. It doesn't bother me at all. I have similar faith, similar values." Two of BYU's top three running backs J.J. DiLuigi and Bryan Kariya will be seniors this fall, and Williams is expected to compete right away for playing time alongside sophomore Joshua Quezada. Williams' pledge means BYU now has 13 commitments from members of the class of 2012, although Davis High lineman Zach Lindsay is said to be wavering on his commitment made months ago. Although Davis coach Ryan Bishop told the Tribune two weeks ago that Lindsay is still committed to BYU, the 6-8 lineman has told friends he's leaning toward Utah, which offered him months after BYU got the commitment. BYU also recently received commitments from two high school juniors members of the class of 2013. Linebacker Trajan Pili of Las Vegas (Centennial High) and safety Dallin Leavitt of Portland (Central Catholic High) have said they will sign with the Cougars in 2013. Here's the current list of 2012 commitments: Dylan Collie, 5-10, 200 WR from El Dorado Hills, Calif. (Oak Ridge High School) Taysom Hill, 6-2, 210 QB from Pocatello, Idaho (Highland High School) Tanner Mangum, 6-2, 182 QB from Boise, Idaho (Eagle High School) Josh Weeks, 6-4, 200 WR from Show Low, Ariz. (Show Low High School) Zach Lindsay, 6-8, 285 OL from Kaysville, Utah (Davis High School) Rhett Sandlin, 6-3, 194 Safety from Sandy, Utah (Alta High School) Matt Hadley, 5-11, 190 Safety from Connell, Wash. (Connell High School)Austin Hoyt, 6-7, 240 OL from Jackson, Calif. (Argonaut High School)
Phillip Amone, 6-0, 218, LB from Orlando, Fla. (Dr. Phillips High School)
Bobby Wolford, 6-3, 228, LB from Jacksonville, Fla. (Bishop Kenny High School)
Steven Richards, 6-4, 240, DE from Draper, Utah (Alta High School)
Kolton Donovan, 6-3, 255, LS from St. George, Utah (Pine View High School)
Jamaal Williams, 6-2, 190 RB from Fontana, Calif. (Summit High School)