Wideout KJ Williams was supposed to be the first 4-star recruit to come to Syracuse in a long time. He was expected to play right away and become a difference maker for the Orange offense as early as this season. With the recent news of his academic ineligibility, we know this won’t be the case, at least for the time being. Williams will not enroll this summer, making him ineligible for the upcoming season. In the wake of the O’Bannon case and other NCAA criticisms, it’s a reminder there are still academic pitfalls for these student-athletes.
Where does this leave the SU receiving corps? Syracuse is facing with a “depleted” group without him. This leaves the Orange with mostly the same receivers it had last year. Jarrod West will be option number one. Ashton Broyld will likely be option two after transitioning to wide receiver full time. Jeremiah Kobena remains as a possible deep threat every once in a while. Quinta Funderburke may become a big factor depending on his development. Alvin Cornelius could be become a red zone target. As an H-Back, Brisly Estime could provide a spark as well. The Orange didn’t need Williams to come in and be a 1,000 yard receiver off the bat, but it would have been a nice addition to this crew.
Did his academic concerns scare other schools away? Hard to say. He was certainly one of the highest-rated commits the program has seen in some time, so maybe there was a reason he fell to SU. Many felt like the commitment of his cousin A.J. Long was a big factor in him coming. But reportedly, he had offers from schools like Michigan, Arizona and Mizzou. So it seems like enough big-time schools trusted him to make the grades.
When will we see Williams? Hard to say. He could be back on the SU campus as soon as next fall, or he may never play for the Orange. It comes down to him. Williams could go to a prep school for a year and work his grades up, not losing any eligibility. Or he could go to a junior college, like Wayne Williams did by going to ASA in Brooklyn. That would subtract years he could compete at SU. Playing at a JuCo level would likely keep Williams out for two years, while a prep school could take as little as one semester before Williams is allowed to enroll in SU.
Williams had an opportunity to be a big-time wide receiver for the Orange, and that will have to wait. He needs to decide what route is best for him. For this season, the Orange will move on without him.
Posted: Seth Goldberg