Four-star quarterback Jarren Williams decommitted from Kentucky on Sunday, a day after he watched undefeated Miami defeat No. 3 Notre Dame on his official visit with the Hurricanes.
“Right now I’m real high on Miami, real high,” Williams told 247Sports on Sunday morning.
247Sports national analyst Steve Wiltfong has already logged a Miami prediction on Williams’ Crystal Ball page.
Wiltfong told the Herald-Leader in the days leading up to Williams’ official visit to Miami that Kentucky fans should be “worried” about holding on to the high-profile commitment.
“It’s obvious that he’s intrigued with some other opportunities, and he’s going to go check them out,” the analyst said Wednesday.
Williams had also scheduled official visits to Ohio State for next weekend and Auburn for the following weekend, the latter for the Iron Bowl against top-ranked Alabama. He was expected to take an official visit to Kentucky in early December, but that trip is now not going to happen.
He’s still expected to visit Ohio State and Auburn, however.
Williams’ visit to Miami centered on the Hurricanes prime-time matchup with Notre Dame, two teams with College Football Playoff aspirations. Miami won the game, 41-8, in front of a raucous home crowd.
“The atmosphere, it was real electric,” Williams told 247Sports. “The fans they were really into the game and real passionate. Also just being able to see everything, see the campus, and I got to sit down and talk to Coach (Mark) Richt and get to know them a lot better. The highlight was getting to know them better and getting to be around the team. It was a real good experience for me.”
Williams — from Lawrenceville, Ga. — originally committed to UK last year before backing out of that commitment in the spring. He then re-committed to the Cats a few weeks later. He had reported scholarship offers from Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana State, among others, at that time.
UK coaches have not tipped their hand about possible backup plans for Williams in recent weeks, but the Cats have been tied to three-star, dual-threat quarterback Kevaris Thomas, a 6-foot-4 prospect out of Lakeland, Fla.
Thomas told Rivals.com late last month that a UK coach had come to see him but said at the time that the Cats were planning to take only one quarterback in the class of 2018.
“When the Kentucky coach came down to see me last, he said he liked me a lot but the head coach only wants to take one quarterback,” he said. “He said he was trying to convince him to take two. If he gets that OK, he’ll offer me. Or if they lose the quarterback ... or something.”
Thomas said at the time that Western Kentucky was the leader in his recruitment. He also has a scholarship offer from Colorado State.
UK starting quarterback Stephen Johnson is a senior this season, which means the Cats’ will have a new starter at the position next fall.
Drew Barker, who will be a senior in 2018, is the only scholarship QB on UK’s roster with any college experience. He suffered a season-ending injury earlier last year after earning the starting job and has played sparingly this season.
Wiltfong told the Herald-Leader a few days ago that Williams, who plans to enroll in college for spring practice, could have competed for the UK starting job as a true freshman next season.
“I think Jarren can walk in and have a chance to be the most talented guy right when he gets in there,” he said of the situation at Kentucky. “Then it would just be, how much of an opportunity would the staff give him? How quickly can he digest whatever they give him to learn, and then is that enough to play?
“But, certainly, Kentucky would be one of the more advantageous power-five schools to go in and compete right away as a true freshman quarterback.”