The Next Shamarko? New Jersey Safety Rodney Williams Commits to Syracuse

Syracuse received yet another defensive commitment to the Class of ’14 this weekend in safety Rodney Williams. The two-way star stands at 5’10”, 185 lbs., and plays both quarterback and defensive back for the Cherry Hill West Lions in New Jersey. He also stars on his basketball team, hitting the 1,000-point career mark last season. This latest commitment brings Scott Shafer’s new class up to five with potentially more on the way with Syracuse’s football camps wrapping up.

Williams also has offers from Buffalo and Temple but opted for the Orange. He earned an offer with an impressive camp performance on the Hill. While at camp, SU coaches saw his skills translate to safety. The Orange may ask him to make the switch for his senior year or at least play some at safety. Syracuse.com has also reported Pitt and Rutgers were interested in Williams but chose to go after bigger names instead.

While he’s only rated as a 2-star recruit by Rivals, Williams has plenty of raw talent but needs polishing. It would not be the first time in recent memory that has happened, as Shamarko Thomas was also a 2-star recruit in ’09 and now has a job with the Pittsburgh Steelers. #SHAMARKO was an under the radar talent with offers from Louisville, Marshall, Old Dominion and Richmond. He chose the Orange and developed into a terrific safety that could play at the next level. Could Williams do the same? The gates should also be open for Williams to compete for playing time depending on players emerging this season for the Orange.

A hidden gem of the Jersey product is his kick returning abilities. Williams has above-average speed and has moves in space. Being able to contribute on special teams would give Williams another chance to get on the field. Williams has a great skill set, but could use very good coaching. He also plans on bulking up this offseason for the safety position. It also helps to pluck talent away from a state where Rutgers has had a lock down, especially in the metro area.

While Williams is rated as a 2-star recruit, he still has a full season to rise up in the rankings and prove his offer is worthwhile. The SU coaches saw him up close and liked what they were watching. Now he has a chance to be on the Hill full time.

Posted: Zephan Mayell


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  1. Cuse17 says:

    2 star recruit.. Weight- buck 75.. Welcome to Syracuse PeeWee Football.
    They’ve got girls bigger than that on the lax/ Hockey teams.
    When does Basketball start?

  2. Matty says:

    Love this pick up…potential to be great! Congrats Rodney!

  3. Cuse17 says:

    I’m sure he’s a great kid and I hope he takes advantage of a chance to get a great education.. Welcome Rodney and congratulations on being Orange!

  4. thesackster says:

    the film shows alot of athleticism. kick returner, db probrably a redshirt to put on some weight and get adjusted to the defense but i’m not going to underestimate a 2 star player. hopefully we can pick up more kids from new jersey.

  5. chris says:

    Lets not forget that Shamarko trained his body hard in the off seasons running up hills and pushing cars up them as well. it was this kind of effort that put him on the Steelers. If Rodney does the same he will only himself and the team to new and unforeseen glory or championships, if you prefer. In any event it is a good addition for SS. More on the way.

  6. Ron says:

    Syracuse recieved another commitment today from 3* 6’0′ 200 lb OLB Parris Bennett out of University of Detroit Jesuit HS located in Detroit MI,bringing the total to 6 verbaled recruits.

    Here’s another get from the state of Michigan.

    Great job Coach Shafer.

  7. Ron says:

    Mr Rodney Williams,welcome to the Orangenation,your going to like it here I wish you luck over the next 4 years.

    Give em hell Rodney,give em hell.

    Good catch Coach Shafer,good catch.

  8. Ron says:

    This paragraph taken from an article posted on syr.com today.

    Cooper, 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, said he enrolls on July 19 and will play football this fall. The three-star prospect from Raleigh, N.C. told the Post-Standard last week that he did not qualify academically for Syracuse.

    Syracuse is a very tough academic school. Unlike the University of North Carolina,Syracuse doesn’t offer a class in African American studies, where the students don’t even have to attend and can recieve a grade of A or A+. Hell,they don’t even have to do any studing,term papers or read a book or two during the course of a semister.

    Corey Cooper will enroll in January for the 2014 spring semister,and yes for all those who worried about the coaches knowing what his grades were,they advised him on what course of action to take if he didn’t qualify academically to Syracuse.

  9. Smitty section 129 says:

    Love the recruiting class this staff is putting together.

  10. Terry says:

    Ron the new recruit(Bennett) is a 2 star!!
    Also if the staff helped Corey on his course of action, they knew his grades were not up to par!! Why gamble?? Its just not proper. Oh I suppose there’s some out there that signed knowing their grades might not make the grade and after a miracle or something unwarranted they pass entrance!! I don’t want SU in that mold!

    Lets calm down here on Williams. The Shark was the heart and soul of the “D” let lone the team too!! If the Shark has a decent NFL career and I think he will that will pay dividends for SU. He was a 2 star when he first came here and graduated(I think) a 5 star. Williams is interesting. But I don’t agree with his speed. He is quick!! But not break away speed. If Williams graduates like the Shark did at a 5 star rank we’ll all be happy!! Won’t we???

    Rated 66 now!! Heading in the right direction!! Better than 72!! LOL!!!

  11. Ron says:

    Sharmako Thomas came to Syracuse as a 2* athlete and worked hard pursuing his dreams of playing in the NFL. His story, of pushing auto’s up hills to get in shape during the off season,is what legends are made of. The thing that really sticks out for me about Sharmako, is he played the game he loved with heart. That type of player trumps any 4* or 5* recruit that steps onto a field 100% of the time.

    I welcome Rodney Williams to the team and upstate NY,and hope that he has a great career here at Syracuse.

    His commitment is huge for Shafer and Syracuse. Coach Shafer is starting to open the doors to the recruits in the state of NJ. Syracuse has been shut out of NJ way to long. I hope the other recruits are seeing and realizing that Syracuse is a great school to play football at. Coach Shafer’s endless commitment to get recruits out of NJ is starting to pay dividend’s.

    Syracuse has over 30 offers out to recruits from NJ,lets hope we get at least 6-10 more from that state.

    That alone is Fuccilo HUGGGGGGGGGGGA!!!

  12. Ron says:

    @Terry;

    I don’t believe in the star rating system. Never have and never will. For me there is no difference between a 3* or 4* athlete. Look at rivals and see all of the athletes that are at these big football camps trying to please some idiot watching them run the drills to get upgraded. I thought this past NFL draft showed us all that the number of stars after a players name means absolutely nothing. Three of the first four players drafted were N/R players with 00000000000 amout of stars after their names.

    I’m sure that Parris Bennett standing at 6’0″ 200 lbs,make the adjustments needed and do just fine for the Orange. Looking forwards to seeing these kids come to campus in 2014.

  13. Ron says:

    I think later this week when Chad Mavety comes to visit,I hope Jayson Bromley is chosen to be his chaperone. If Jayson gets to tell Chad his story,I’m sure that it will be enough for Chad Mavety to become an orangeman in 2014.

    Jayson is another N/R player that has made it big here at Syracuse and will definately being playing football on Sunday’s after graduation.

  14. Russell MacEachern says:

    Ron,I’m not familiar with this Williams kid but he sounds like a sleeper! Anyone who plays so many positions on Timber Creek must be their best all around athlete!HCSS must have liked what he saw!Remember this is Adonis Jennings team and 2 or 3 other D1 players!He might (HCSS) want to get close to some of the rich underclass men talent for the future!Mending fences?

  15. Ron says:

    Russell;

    The kid is a keeper. I think with his commitment to the orange,only helps us in reopening the state and bringing more of the states talent to Syracuse.

    It’s being reported that Adonis Jennings out of Timber Lake HS has narrowed his choice of schools down to(5)I believe,and Syracuse was one of those schools that made the list.

    I know that you and Malone don’t think he’s coming to Syracuse. Maybe the kid has a change of heart and decides Syracuse is the place to be and surprizses the daylights out of us all.

    Wouldn’t that be awesome? Russell,I still think the class of 2014 is going to be special.

  16. Terry says:

    Sorry Ron-Recruting services are a valued service. They know more about HSFB talent than you and the rest of us. Some sites are better than others. Rivals is my choice. They are more conservative than the other sites!! The last two are 2 star talent period. Because of size and ability. 2 LB’s at 6’0 and 200/205 lbs for the last 2 verbals. There are plenty of 3/4/5 star players in the NFL. And a minority of NR/2 stars in the NFL!! So its just plain ignorance to leave out the opinion of the people in the know about HSFB talent. Yes their ideas are subjective, but they are researched unlike your opinions!! Leave their opinion out and that;s just babbling!! SORRY!!

  17. Terry says:

    Also I’m disapointed in how HCSS handled the Corey Cooper situation. Some of us said that the staff had to know about his poor grades. Well unfortunately we were right. In reality HCSS didn’t put anything out about Corey’s situation and he doesn’t have to. I can see this as an investment for the future, but in the long run these kind of situations come back to hurt the program in the long run. After all it’s all about the program not an individual isn’t it?? This gamble might pay off, but not this fall!!

  18. Ron says:

    Terry;so if I get you comment about the recruiting services right? Your telling me that these people who set behind a desk and look at a computer all day long,get up off their fat a$$ess and travel around the country looking at and evaluating these kids,getting to know them before they give the kids a star rating. I don’t think so!!! But for arguments sake I’ll take your word on this subject ok. Call it whatever your word for the day is ok.

    I wonder how many of them went and looked at Justin Pugh or Ryan Nassib in high school and decided they were only a 2* athlete that didn’t have a chance in hell of ever playing in the NFL. Can you please give me a number of how many?

  19. Ron says:

    When a coach walks into a recruits house to talk to his family about the school that’s recruiting him,I’m sure the very first question asked is how’s your grades?

    From what I’ve always been told,getting a 1100 score on the SAT or 85 on the ACT test is hard.

    Every once in awile you come across a kid that needs a little help and direction in life. Coach Shafer must of seen something special in Corey Cooper and he extended his hand to help this kid out. Corey has to do one semister in prep school and then enroll at Syracuse for the spring semister in January. That’s not really a big deal here,so lets give the kid a break.

    I know Terry that your not going to give him one and I also know that this subject will be thrown out for discussion for the rest of the year. It’s over and done with,nothing is going to change,so please do us all a favor and get over it.

  20. Cuse17 says:

    The Services aren’t perfect but they provide a pecking order on a large base of talent. These are 17/18 year old kids..they grow..they grow up..they get coached up in some cases..the Services are better than nothing, but not perfect.The problem is..we end up with a 70 type rating year in and out, and then we play to that rating.
    We go with low budget Coaching and get low budget results. Shafer will be no different…. Look what’s going on in Miami and North Carolina..two ACC Schools with Quality Coaches that attract talent..
    By the way.. I went to Cuse..great place, but it isn’t Yale! Plenty of academic paths to easy degrees. Especially with the quality of tutoring available to anyone that wants/uses it!

  21. Cuse17, why don’t you keep your comments to yourself. The recruits see your comments and he has tweeted a pic of your comment. Unless you are really a rutgirls fan trying to sabotage our recruiting.

  22. Frank says:

    Apparently Cuse17 puts all stock into high school player’s weight and their star rating. Leaving out the fact that Shamarko Thomas, Justin Pugh, and Ryan Nassin were all 2-star prospects who developed into NFL draft picks. More 2-stars were drafted in the first round than 4/5 stars. The star system is not the end all be all. Watch his tape and make your own judgement.

  23. Ron says:

    @Terry;

    I really do understand where your coming from,when you start to mentionyour feelings on Corey Cooper. But with all of the shanaggins that goes on behind the sceans of these universities,who’s to blame? I feel that we the fans arethe ones to blame. We want to see the best possible players on the field during competition(all the time) and we pay big bucks to do so. We want to(agree or not)to see a 245/250 lb linebacker try and knock the opposing QB out of the game anyway possible.

    If you really want to read an article that will shock your foundation,look up Dexter Manley and read the following.

    VIEWS OF SPORT; HOW ILLITERACY MAKES ATHLETES RUN

    By discussing the Corey Cooper situation,it opens up a decades only arguement. These universities are making billions of dollars,shouldn’t the athletes thats playing the game get compensated? I’m on the side of the argument that I feel they should. You and I are old enough Terry to realize that athletics and academia has never gone hand in hand with one another.

    Doesn’t it make you wonder who is giving kid like Corey directions and advising them in life? Where’s his parents? Do they help in anyway? Where the hell were his teachers? If they new the kid was having problems,why didn’t they help?

    I really do understand the arguement and the points that you were trying to make. Please read the article that I mentiond earlier. It’ll blow your socks off your feet.

  24. Ron says:

    @Terry;

    One other thing I forgot to mention. When all this information came out about Dexter and after he was forced to retire from the Redskins,how come the frigging NCAA didn’t do an investigation into his recruitment by the coaches of Oklahoma State University?

    My answer is big time donors with big time money,and I believe it’s worse today than what it was back in the 70′s and 80′s.

    Just my take on the matter.

  25. Malone says:

    Hey Cuse17, why don’t you stop posting if all its going to be is negativity. You say you went to Syracuse and it isn’t Yale? Maybe we should all wise up and maybe we’ll get there. Our new verbal Rodney was very pleased with your post. I hope he forgets it before signing day. I’d hate to think someone who busted his but knowing what was on the line and did enough to impress the staff we trust will bring us wins and chips decided not to come because a supposed fan and alum had his own opinion based on nothing but height and weight. I’d hate to hear other recruits who were considering us decided we aren’t worth the trouble if this is how the fans think.

  26. Malone says:

    Also, how is it in the same post we can bash two recruits by saying one doesn’t have enough stars, but the other, who does, who Shafer said was the highest potential recruit in ’13 was a bad risk because his academics weren’t solid? We lost a lot and Shafer had to rebuild and he decided to do it with talent instead of bodies. He gave Corey encouragement to do better in school and opportunity as reward. Corey appreciated that and tried his best. Positive influence making a better person and we bash them both? Corey Cooper will be here because of the faith we showed him. Rodney Williams will be here for the same reason. Both will succeed because of the faith they have shown in themselves. That never say die attitude is what I want on my team. Remember that Terry next time you want to trust a guy at a computer in NYC over HCSS

  27. Ron says:

    @Malone;

    Thank you very much for speaking up. I agree with everything that you’ve said. No bulls**t and to the point.

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!

    My take on Corey Cooper is that he probable missed a couple three questions on the SAT & ACT test that didn’t give him a high enough score to enroll this year. He’s going to be here in the spring and will have 4 years to prove to us his worth and shut his critics up.

    I just find it disgraceful,on how easy it is to throw a kid,that you’ve never seen or talked too,and throw him under the bus just because he doesn’t have enough stars after his name or failed to qualify academically,and goes to a prep school for one semister.

  28. Malone says:

    Thanks Ron I obviously agree with you. I don’t like being pointed or caustic in a forum like this, but this rhetoric just got me too angry to sit back and let it go unchecked

  29. Ron says:

    @Malone;

    What about our latest recruit 6’7″ 290 lb OT Jamar McGluster out of St. Anthony HS. Jersey City NJ?

    I think he’s another great grab for Shafer and company.

  30. Russell MacEachern says:

    Excellent post Malone!!I’m not used to seeing you mad Ha Ha!I better watch my words!Hard to understand someone fortunate enough to have an SU degree devalue it!

  31. Russell MacEachern says:

    Sounds like a real Bob Hurley Sr athlete out of a legendary HS basketball program!Must be very talented in multiple sports!Worth the shot!Might have AAU connections with Rodney Williams down at Timber Creek near Philly?

  32. Cuse17 says:

    I had no idea my opinion….Shafer was a bad hire…..will influence recruits to go where they can get coached up and win games. We’re not keeping up with the other rebuilding ACC schools. Shafer will be gone in three years and here we go again. Your Polly Ann ish view of a 60/70 ranked recruiting class..year after year after year …is tough to understand!

  33. Russell MacEachern says:

    Cuse17,besides the SU education remark your opinion is as good as anyones!I’ve heard others not satisfied but were sort of a rah rah bunch here and we’ve had more than our share of sorrow!We have to give HCSS his shot…I know he’s new and not Bob Diaco but he’s got a little buzz going and thats where good things start!!Malone is as fine and proud a Cuse grad as we have and always the informative gentlemen!I’ve never seen him mad before!If your truly a Cuse fan you won’t devalue the good education available!

  34. Cuse17 says:

    You missed my point…I think Syracuse is a great place to get an education. It’s size and deversity gives a student the chance to get a great education or a certificate of attendance… if you know what I mean. The student athletes are even luckier. The help with tudors and prep school/ summer school help is great. I know..I took advantage of it and thank SU for all it brought me!
    That said…it’s not Yale/ Princeton and those that imply that anyone that successfully builds a football program must be Florida/Ohio State/ etc. are out of line.
    There are good academic schools in the ACC that are building good football programs and not intentionally breaking the rules. I want a coach and a program that can attract a top 40 recruiting class. Good coaching and a little luck will give us good football and a competitive situation!
    That’s not to much to ask for…. I don’t think this gang or the program will get us there! All the rah rah, Optimism in the world won’t help. I’n the end..it hurts.

  35. Ron says:

    @Cuse17;

    I first witnessed the “tutorial system” at work back in 1993 when I was having lunch with my wife at Goldstein Cafteria,when I noticed Kevin Mitchell seated at the next table doing his school work with his tutor there helping. It’s not only the athletes that get tutoring,your correct in saying it’s there for anyone who want’s to use it. If you were to go to the dining hall during a normal school day you would find students setting with their tutors doing their studing.

    I rah,rah guys that you mentioned earlier and I disagree with your statement(I don’t think this gang or the program will get us there! All the rah rah, Optimism in the world won’t help. I’n the end..it hurts).

    If Coach Shafer and staff keeps on getting the players that he’s currently getting now,then my feelings are Syracuse has turned the corner and will be successful over the next decade,then the recruiting will get better each year that Coach shafer is here.

    In order to maintain a successful program,Dr.Darrell Gross will have to offer this current staff more than what their making now. With all of the extra monies that Syracuse will be recieving from the ACC. If Shafer and company starts to win games then there isn’t going to be any excuses for the university to not pay them their worth and extend their contracts. I honestly believe Coach shafer and this group is here longer than 4 years.

  36. Malone says:

    Cuse17 I would venture a guess that we are on pace to outperform last year’s class and there’s 8 months to go. As of now on 24/7 we are at 66 up from last year’s 74 (I understand the perception value of it, but don’t care as much as I value on the field performance). In the 2013 class UL was ranked 43 and West Virginia 31. We spanked them both.

    There is nothing Pollyanna about my view of the program, but being negative does less than being positive. If you don’t realize that you are devaluing the program, the degree, the brand with your comments and back handed “compliments” then I am here to tell you that you are. Which of the 50,000 people that showed up to Kentucky’s spring game were there because they wanted to bash the program? Notice where their class is? Your opinion is none the less respected for what it is, which is that of a hater. Go ahead and hate. Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re wrong, we’ll all find out when these guys GET ON THE FIELD.

    That said, I am upset primarily because you are not calling out the program or our recruiting ranking or even the academics at least not initially. You called out a 17 year old kid, who at this moment doesn’t even attend the school. Go back and re-read it. You actually compliment the SU basketball team, women’s lax and women’s hockey team, so that you can come down on a kid not for his ability or effort, things he can control, but for his physical size. The recruit saw it, and was affected. He posted it on his Twitter account. Fans of other teams got on him for committing to such an ungrateful group. Don’t be ignorant that words of fans have an impact, especially on a young kid who only wants us to appreciate how he handles the things he can control as he represents my alma mater to the world.

  37. Ron says:

    @Malone;

    I think Terry was one of the people who told us last year that he didn’t think the recruits were reading what we posted.

    @Terry
    Are you reading Malones post? I guess throwing young men under the bus with your stupid remarks,does indeed hurt the program. Next time you don’t like one of the recruits(for whatever reason)who commit,please keep the remarks to yourself because there is no one out here that wants to hear them anymore.

  38. Cuse17 says:

    Ron,
    No one would be happier than I….if your right…time will tell. Think Shafer is a good guy…think he is/was a very good assistant coach…I think a very good coach.
    Just think the college game has turned into such a business the Head Guy needs skills that weren’t necessary years past. Let see where we rank at years end with his recruiting…60/70… More of the same. If we see improvement..even slight improvement your road back begins to make sense.
    I’m just not convinced. Louisville/NC/Miami all making big progress…we have a lot of catching up….hope your right..we’ll see

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