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Proximity key in Williams' pledge to Arkansas

11/11/2011

On Thursday, four-star running back Jonathan Williams (Allen, Texas/Allen) said he was looking to find a college home quickly after decommiting from Missouri earlier in the week. On Friday, Williams decided to stay in the SEC and committed to play for Arkansas.

Williams, a 6-foot, 205-pound running back, said he made the verbal public to the Arkansas coaching staff around 10 a.m. He chose the Razorbacks over Tennessee and Wisconsin, and he added that attending Missouri was still under consideration.

“I made a call to coach [John L.] Smith around 10 o’clock, and he put me on the phone with coach Petrino,” Williams said. “That’s when I made it official.”

Proximity played a major role in Williams’ decision. The drive from Allen to Fayetteville, Ark., is a little more than four hours, compared to the seven-plus-hour drive from Columbia, Mo.

“The distance in being closer to home definitely something I thought about,” Williams said. “What I liked about Missouri, even though the actual school wasn’t close to home, was that I was going to be close to home playing Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor and schools like that. I wanted my family to stay close and have them come out and see me.”

Williams added that enjoyed the Arkansas atmosphere. He called the Razorbacks fans “crazy” and said the atmosphere was something he wanted to be apart of.

Recruited by Smith and assistant coach Tim Horton, Williams has helped Allen to a 10-0 record and a No. 3 ranking in the Fab 50. As Allen prepares for the opening round of Texas Class 5A playoffs Saturday, Williams enters the postseason with 941 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He fought off back spasms earlier in the season.

As a junior, Williams rushed for 2,078 yards and 19 touchdowns. He originally committed to Missouri in April.

“I think Arkansas is best for me,” he said. “I liked Wisconsin and Tennessee, as well. They’re definitely good schools, and they can definitely run the ball, but the distance factor was something big for me.”

Williams became the 22nd Arkansas commit and the fourth four-star commit. Williams is ranked No. 16 in the nation among running backs.