2013 4-star wide receiver recruit Taj Williams has finally committed, and his decision may be a bit more than surprising when you take a look at it on paper.
Williams has committed to the Indiana Hoosiers—football, not basketball mind you.
Matt Weaver of Peegs.com reports on the commitment:
Peegs.com has confirmed that wide receiver Taj Williams has committed to IU and will join the program starting this fall. The Rivals250 prospect is the 23rd commit for coach Kevin Wilson and his staff in the 2013 class, and the fifth one that is rated as a four-star recruit. The standout from Tallahassee (FL) Lincoln H.S. was in Bloomington this past weekend for an official visit.
Williams, who is ranked the 214th best player in the nation by Rivals.com, chose the Hoosiers over offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, UCLA, USC, Kentucky, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Central Florida, South Florida, Florida Atlantic and Florida International. He told Peegs.com on Facebook that he has given the Hoosiers his verbal pledge and will be signing in a matter of days.
To be very clear, this is not meant to be a "let's make fun of Hoosiers football" article. I respect the fact that despite its struggles on the football field, Indiana does indeed field a Division I program in the Big Ten, so that's nothing to scoff at.
That said, as Weaver reported, Williams choose Indiana over the likes of some very notable programs like Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame, USC and others—so this really is a coup for coach Kevin Wilson and his staff.
Williams projects to be a big-time receiver for the Hoosiers. He's 6'3.5'', 166 pounds and runs a 4.40 40 according to 247Sports. He has the height to be a good possession receiver, especially in the red zone, but he also has the speed to be a deep threat near the boundaries.
He's deceivingly elusive for his size, and he displays great footwork, vision and ability to make defenders miss in the open field. Williams has the leaping ability and concentration to go up and high-point the ball, and he could also be utilized as an extremely effective kick returner on special teams.
Will Indiana football be competitive within the Big Ten in the next five years?
The Hoosiers are getting a very talented receiver recruit—No. 37 overall wideout from the 2013 class according to the 247Sports Composite—and he has the potential to be the marquee player for Indiana's football program. Note: Weaver did also report that Williams has some eligibly concerns due to academics, but his high school coach expects him to be good.
This will go down as a major recruiting win for Wilson and the Hoosiers, but it needs to be said that no amount of recruiting success can replace wins and losses on the field. If Wilson wants to build Indiana football up in the Big Ten, he's going to have to translate the recruiting success he had during the 2013 cycle into actual football success.
Perhaps there will be a day where an elite recruit choosing Indiana football won't be surprising, but the Hoosiers have a lot of work to do to get to that point.