K.J. Williams Reopens Recruitment after Failing to Qualify Academically

If K.J. Williams leaves Syracuse, how will the wide receiving corps adjust?


via lehighvalley.com

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The Orange received some unfortunate news yesterday as K.J. Williams announced via Twitter that he will reopen his recruitment process after failing to qualify academically to join the 2014 class.

This will be a tough loss for Orange Nation to take after Williams became one of the highest-ranked signees in recent memory. The 4-star recruit will attend Milford Academy, a school several Syracuse recruits have attended in the past that have issues enrolling.

Williams was looked at as a big fish that the Orange finally caught in the recruiting waters. Fans know how hard it has been to secure a commitment from a 4-star recruit. In fact, many were impressed that Coach Shafer was able to pull off a big recruiting win in his first true recruiting cycle as head coach.

Although Williams was considered the main attraction of a solid 2014 class, there are several promising receivers who will be on the team next season. Jamal Custis, Adly Enoicy and Steve Ishmael will have to heavily impress in practice to see the field as freshmen but they do give the Syracuse receiving corps a bright future. WR Corey Cooper enrolled in January and also will be looking for his first crack at playing time.

There is the possibility that Williams does honor his commitment and play for the Orange. He is cousins with A.J. Long and hails from the same high school as Jarrod West. There is no word yet on where Williams is looking to play after his semester at Milford but his family did want him to play at Michigan before eventually committing to Syracuse.

Something of note in this particular situation is how Syracuse’s current commit total for the 2015 class will affect KJ Williams’ decision. The Orange already have 22 commits, which is a very high total considering there is still a month left before the end of summer and almost six months before National Signing Day. The good news for Williams if he wants to stay with Syracuse is that West Lindor is the only true wide receiver in the 2015 class thus far. Daiquan Kelly also could slide into the wide receiver role depending on where the coaching staff thinks he fits best.

All said, K.J. Williams is still a big talent who will be missed if he decides to enroll elsewhere next season. But the Orange will have to move on with the incoming receivers they have, which to be honest are not too shabby.

Posted by: Zephan Mayell

16 Comments on this Post

  1. BK SU FB Fan

    No problem with that on my end. At the end of the day, its his decision. A decision, he will have to abide by. I hope he still comes because SU could always use talent, but next man up if he doesnt. If Enoicy and Custis don’t get switched to TE, we can have a rarity in 2 tall wr. Throw in Corey Cooper, Steve Ishmael, Brisly Estime, AC, and a few other prospects and we have the building blocks of what can be a good position group.

    Ultimately, the same reasons he chose SU should still be in place by the time he finishes his prep school yr. So like many other Milford guys, I expect him to stay.

    But if he doesn’t I won’t go overboard and claim that he is “blaming SU” for him not qualifying and all the other garbage. Like any other young person, he is probably uncertain about what to do. Jarrod and AJ can try to talk to him about how good the SU campus experience can be and hope for the best.

  2. Ih Hunt shows a big pass game this year,it might inspire KJ to remain an Orange commit albeit a year later.We have other top playwes already on campus who will do the job after earning playing time in practice.Williams obviously isn’t very bright or he wouldn’t be plaint Milford this year. Losing him won’t be the worse thing this program has faced. The worse was GROB and we are still functioning after his incompetence nearly killed football at Syracuse U.

  3. I know by starting this post that I’m going to upset the apple cart . But lets take a good hard look at the KJ Williams situation. He’s probably been pampered since his Pop Warner days and after he was to old made the modified Jr. High School Football team where his ability to play the game was noticed,had a terrific year and was moved up to the JV squad and probably played some Varsity ball in his freshman year in high school. From the time of his Pop Warner days to his senior year in high school,someone/his teachers/coaches had to know that he wasn’t performing well enough to make college. So instead of telling this kid that the color of his skin and his ability to play the game at a high level was all you needed to get into college instead of getting good grades,WHY,WHY,WHY in hell didn’t they help this kid? His coaches should have known that he was struggling academically and if he was to keep up what he was doing just wasn’t going to be good enough to get him into college.

    If you remember back when he committed to Syracuse,it took an awful lot of prodding to get him to commit,and I believe he made a couple of remarks indicating that he really didn’t want to come here in the first place.

    So now fast forward,he has to go to Milford Academy to get his grades up. He doesn’t like it and has opened up his recruitment again. The sad thing about all of this is there’s going to be a Div 11 or Div 111 college that will snap him up,as is. If he were to stay and improve his grades at Milford and come to Syracuse before Jan 1st,how many of you actually believe that he’s going to continue to do well academically at Syracuse?

    So if a another school grabs him,who do we blame? It shows me that some colleges don’t give a damn about these kids and what happens to them after the lights stop burning and their playing days are over with. In reality with another school grabbing him, it shows me that all they’re interested in is winning.

    Right now those 4*’s that accompanied his name doesn’t mean a damn thing,do they?

  4. Dr. Bill

    Ron, You had me agreeing with you almost 100% until you got to the point ” so instead of telling this kid that the color of his skin and…………was all you needed to get into college instead of getting good grades.” Are you kidding me? I understand the ability to play the game at a high level part, that is why kids get athletic scholarships. Perhaps it was a typo, I can’t give you a pass on this one. Do you really think there are people telling him that because he is Black, that is all he needs to get into school as opposed to good grades really?

    I know this is a sports forum, but if you really believe what you said about skin color and a players chances for getting into college, You are misinformed, and your comments are offensive at the very least.
    None of us know the particulars of KJ ‘s situation! For all we know, all the adults around him could have done all that they were supposed to do in terms of support and encouragement….And KJ just dropped the ball and didn’t live up to his responsibility.this happens all the time with kids regardless of skin color…or athletic ability.

  5. @Dr.Bill;

    So why didn’t the teachers or coaches that were involved with this young man help him?

    I’ve been involved in sports all of my life. I was told by the athletic director and varsity coach that my friends and I couldn’t play football because we lived in the wrong section of town. I’ve seen things in sports programs happen Dr. Bill that you wouldn’t belive happened if you weren’t there to witness it. So please if I offended you I”m sorry,but don’t get on your high horse/start preaching to me and start telling me what’s right or wrong with this picture.

    Look KJ Williams is taking the easy road out by quiting and reopening his recruitment. Instead of buckling down and improving his academics,he’s banking on another school recruiting him to where he can step right in as a true freshman and playing immediately. Unfortunately that’s the road that his coaches and teaches has led him down all of his life. The thing your missing here DR. Bill is the fact that it doesn’t only happen to a certain segment of our society and people who has the power to correct it just tgurn their damn checks and look the other way because they don’t want to get involved.

    The bottom line is that it was probably discovered early on that KJ Williams needed help with academics and none was give to him. When I read that 80% of the kids graduating from the public school in NYC can’t read and have troubles writing and then a kid like KJ Williams comes along,only makes me ask,what the hell is happening to our school system and why are we spending so much money if the teachers aren’t teaching and helping the kids?

    I’m sure that your a busy man,if you have time go down to a little league field and watch a game boys/girls doesn’t matter. Observe the coaches,there’s no instruction and message has become a win at all cost. For me that’s a problem and it doesn’t matter what or who the kis is or where he’she is from.

    And when I mentioned that my friends and I were not allowed to play high school sports,some of the friends that I speak of Dr. Bill were black.

    You have a nice day.

  6. Spoiled brat syndrome here!! He didn’t qualify so its SU’s fault. He feels he needs to go elsewhere-LET HIM GO THEN!!


  7. BK SU FB Fan

    Re-opening his recruitment isn’t taking the easy road, and like Doc, I’m not sure how his skin color factors into the pampering that a star athlete receives. If anything Every star athlete regardless of race gets pampered and feels like thats all they need to get by. You had a very very valid argument without the injection of race. The race based comment, which can definitely come off as offensive(unless you expound on that point and clarify what you meant), wasn’t really needed to drive home the point that KJ is probably a spoiled athlete who thought he could coast on his 4 star rating.

    Re:Taking the easy road. I don’t see him saying, that he will listen to pitches from various schools as an easy road. He still has to in theory make the grades at Milford, or he ain’t gonna be playing at any div 1 school next season. You’d have an argument if he just said, you know what I’m gonna forget prep school and just try to go to a college on a lower tier that will accept my grades as is. Hell, that would probably be a very sound strategy if he had no real intention of giving it a go at school. If he were to somehow play at a lower tier college, he’d in theory have an easier time standing out against sub div 1 competition. By going to prep school, he still has to get his grades up in order to qualify at a top tier school. For a guy who for whatever reason, didn’t excel in the classroom, thats not an easy road.

    Now whether KJ was pampered, enabled by adults and hanger ons or not, it is ultimately incumbent on him to take school seriously because at the end of the day, he is the only one who will truly be accountable for the decisions he makes.

    Lastly, I keep mentioning it, but I think we make a lot of assumptions without knowing all of the facts involved. I also think that we lose sight of the fact that these are essentially kids. I directly referred to this in the first response to but I don’t see him re-opening his recruitment to indicate a “blame SU” thing. I doubt he thinks that SU purposely doesn’t want him to play for them….or they wouldn’t have wasted their timing trying to reach out to him. He didn’t qualify, so he is exercising his ability to re-open the recruitment. To me thats more indicative of him not being 100% sure about his decision when he made it. And honestly, many kids are like that.

  8. BK SU FB Fan

    And as someone who is a product of the NYC public school system, I can tell you that there are DEEP problems with the system. And I have seen different levels of the “equality” and “quality of education” throughout my pre-college scholastic career. My elementary school(in Bedford Stuyvesant-80s era) had dedicated hard working teachers but funding definitely wasn’t on par with other areas of the city. I went to a gifted program inside of junior highschool in Fort Greene where the funding was a little better. I ultimately made it into one of the top academic hs in the city(and possibly country), Brooklyn Technical HS. So when you mention that statistic about 80% of NYC hS graduates, I know that its true and that it will be difficult to address. 80% of the HS in the city were not like my HS. Had I not passed the specialized HS exam my 2 zone schools were Grover Cleveland(had an older cousin there) and cb Wayne Morgan’s old HS Erasmus Hall. I’m not taking shots at those schools, but when I was in 8th grade, neither one of those schools were very appealing to me. Poor funding, high rates of violence/gang activity and a general aura that was not conducive to high academic success. When you look deeper at the areas that many kids grow up in, and the economic distress that they face, its no surprise to see certain statistics.

    btw, the message about go to any little league and observe the coaches. I know a hard working father who treats every kid on his team like his son. Now he may be the rarity, but there are many many good male figures and female role models out there attempting to pick up the slack for children who are not there own. We probably need a few more, myself included. In HS I was the de facto big brother to a young kid at my local library. He was just a young kid I saw at the library after school, I helped him with his hw a few times and when his mom came to pick him up, he called me his big brother. He was a good kid, never a trouble maker, but sometimes you need someone to look up to for some level of guidance. One of my regrets was that I never stayed in contact with the kid and that I didn’t take more of my free time to help other kids from the area. I was too caught up in school and trying to work. At any rate, my message is this: if we are all serious about wanting to see certain things reformed or changed, we need to be a part of the change. We can’t wait for things to happen.

  9. @BK SU FB Fan;

    Thanks for the informative post,much appreciated.

    Look I have three son’s and coached them and 850 other kids during a 22 year span. I coached them in soccer,baseball,football and basketball and loved everyone of them. One of my rules to all of the kids was,”your school work comes first” if I get a notice from one of your teachers telling me that your behind and need some extra help your off the team until your grades improve. With that rule,came alot of arguments with the parents telling me that I was too hard on the kids.

    During that time,I took all of the “so called problem kids that no one else wanted” and boy I’m telling you those kids gave me memories that will last me forever. When I started the 7th and 8th grade basketball teams I took all of the kids that didn’t make the school teams.

    I know I came down on Dr. Bill hard the other day,but I’ve seen what athletic programs do for kids that have nothing and are overlooked by other adults who believe that they can’t ever escape the environment from which they come.

    These kids today are looking for someone to look up too for a little bit of love and a whole lot of dicipline and respect.

    I don’t have all the answers. I’m just a no body who loves the kids and loves seeing them participate in athletics learning the principles/concept of what it takes to be a part of a team,and I greatly appreciate it when I notice a grown up instructing the children when instruction is needed and not yelling at them after they’ve made a mistake.

  10. @BK SU FB Fan;

    Ok,I didn’t read your first post but I’ll try a little harder to explain my thoughts about KJ Williams.

    My verbage in my first post about a coach telling him about his skin color and playing skills would be enough to get him in any college. After re-reading it looked a little funny to me and I understand where you and Dr. Bill are coming from. I don’t think a coach would mention skin color to any athlete would make the difference of getting into college or not. That was poor wording on my part and BY NO MEANS DID I MEAN ANYTHING RACIAL WHEN I MADE THAT STATEMENT.

    But I think in you second post you kind-of-made my point about what hs school you were going to attend to graduate.

    My point as far as KJ Williams reopening his recruitment and taking the easy road. My reasoning is he’s quiting and doesn’t want to do the work to become eligible at Syracuse. I don’t know if Milford Academy has a program to help these kids there or not. However I do know that Syracuse University has such a program and I’ve seen it in action plenty of times.

    In the end “BK SU FB Fan”,what I wish for is the kids that need help with their academics get it.

    I have a son who was labeled “learning disabled” in the first grade. I helped him everyday he brought hw home. Went to the school twice a week and talked to his teachers. during his first week of the fifth grade,my wife and I were called in for a conference with the teacher who told us that he wasn’t doing so well and would be held back at the end of the year. I told the teacher he better buckle down and start doing his job and that my son better not fail the grade. That’s when all hell broke lose for my family and the arguments with the local Board of Education started and lasted until he graduated. I honrestly feel that I’ve gone the extra mile to not only help my son but giving over 850 other kids a chance that no one else would,well I feel I’ve accomplished all that you asked us to do. To be involved.

    So let me ask you and Dr. Bill,how is it that Dexter Manley went through the public school system graduated and went to Oklahoma and got drafted by the Washington Redskins,when it got discovered that he couldn’t read or write? I just don’t want to see that type of situation ever happening again.

  11. BK SU FB Fan

    I figured it had to be something mentioned in error, because as someone who frequents this board, I don’t get the impression that you are biased. I don’t think Doc feels that you are biased either, but we both needed some clarity because the statement reads poorly in the context of KJ williams. I’m glad you followed up and unlike many in society when it comes to misspoken moments(ie Stephen A Smith), I am not coming at you with the pitchforks.

    The point about my academic history was mentioned to highlight the differences in the education certain kids receive v.others who either didn’t have the strong family support or academic success. It was also a statement about how and where funds are allocated and educational disparities. I don’t consider myself better than anyone else I grew up with in Bed Stuy. I am alot more fortunate in that I grew up in a family house with both parents, older aunts, uncles and cousins so I always had that structure around me. My late Jamaican father laid down a firm groundwork for discipline to keep me and my younger brother from falling through the cracks and into the streets. He died when I turned 16 but by then, I atleast had 16 yrs worth of love, support and fatherly advice. Maybe if I grew up around the corner, my life might have taken a different turn. Maybe not.. Over the years, I’ve learn that there are many many gray areas in life. I’ve learned that not all problems have viable or practical solutions. I have learned that each situation has factors that many people overlook or don’t consider. Doc kind of hinted at that when he said, we really don’t know what KJ’s deal is. He could have in fact, had a bunch of teachers, family members and friends trying to steer him in the right direction academically. But for whatever reason, he didn’t make the cut. It doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy or even stupid. It could mean that if it doesn’t come easy to him in the classroom that he gives up. It could mean he didn’t take school seriously, it could mean a bunch of things.

    My disagreement about the prep school route is simple. A ton of other kids including one of our starting wrs came through Milford, another freshman receiver went to prep school. They both ended up coming to SU. I don’t think re-opening his commitment is a reflection or indication of quitting on SU or blaming the school. Quite frankly, I don’t think he was that firm in his decision despite signing a letter of intent. As good decent people, the best we can hope for is that he goes someplace where he can thrive even if it isn’t SU. As SU fans, we hope that he can lean on his 2 SU relatives during this time and join the team next yr.

    Lastly, I thank you for the role you have played in the lives of the kids you have coached. As I have stated before, we need more males and females like that. I also appreciate you giving those kids the structure that they will need. I think thats one of the best things about sports.

  12. @BK SU FB Fan;

    One word that I really hate to use,is the word stupid. I honestly believe that there is not a soul that walks the face of this earth qualified to be called stupid.

    I want to say thanks for understanding what it was that I was trying to say.

    In the end,I hope that I’m wrong about KJ Williams. I hope that he decides to stay at Milford for at least one semister and improves his grades well enough to enroll into Syracuse in January 2015 so he can join the team and get in on the spring practices.

    For the last 25-30 years I’ve worked part time at the university and hav had the chance to meet a ton of thse athletes. I love the job I have now because I get a chance everyday that I work to meet and talk with both the male and female athletes,and for all of that I’ve met I can truly say that I’ve never seen anyone of them as being unruly.

    The one that’s bothered me lately is a kid like Marcus Pierce Brewster getting in trouble and throwing his life away. I thought the kid would have made the NFL after graduation.

  13. BK SU FB Fan

    YES!!! MPB, was a guy who I thought was destined for big things. Instead, he is a “where are they now”. I hope he was able to bounce back and live atleast a decent life.

  14. @BK SU FB Fan;

    This is what I like about this site. good open honest debates between it’s members. No vulger language was used,no hostilities were shown when members like you and Dr. Bill challenged what I had said in a previous post. Unlike other websites cooler heads and civility prevailed.

    Isn’t it amazing what can be achieved when people talk to on another.

    Thanks to all who are members of this website. And just think guys football season starts on Saturday.

  15. @BK SU FB Fan;

    Marcus Brewster was a well spoken,friendly,well mannered,polite type of a kid that was always wearing a smile. The last time I talked with him he had his girlfriend with him and I wished him the very best for the upcoming season and wished him the very best in the NFL.

    When the news broke about his arrest it shocked the daylights out of me. I still to this day don’t understand why a kid like that would do something so damaging that it would destroy his future.

  16. BK SU FB Fan

    Hey I’m all about open discussion even when issues are polarizing. I think the lack of civil discourse is whats hurting us in society. I also believe, that we as a whole, tend to disregard the other side so vehemently that we don’t even listen to whats being said. I find that to be the case with a lot of issues, especially the controversial ones on these debate shows/talk shows. We are all so dug in that no one honestly tries to understand the point someone is trying to make.

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