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Liberty High School’s KJ Williams talks about decision to play football at … – The Express Times

As a young football player, Liberty High School senior wide receiver K.J. Williams always envisioned taking the field at Sun Life Stadium and playing for the University of Miami.

However, on Sunday he verbally committed to wear a different shade of orange and catch passes in the Carrier Dome for Syracuse University as he continues his career as a student-athlete.

“I always thought about going to Miami,” Williams said. “I was actually really surprised when Syracuse showed interest in me.”

Williams, who is listed as a four-star recruit on rivals.com, becomes the eighth player from the national class of 2014 to commit to the Orange. He will be joining former Pius X “dual-threat” quarterback A.J. Long, now playing for Friendship Christian High School in Lebanon, Tenn.

“A.J. going there wasn’t the main reason I committed to Syracuse, but it played a big role in how comfortable I was with making my decision to go there,” Williams said. “Throughout the process, I just tried to take everything in that all the schools were saying, and I really liked the coaches at Syracuse because they all were straightforward with me. I just felt like I really fit in there.”

Before making his decision he had offers from Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Central Florida, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin along with Syracuse. But Williams admits that toward the end of his decision-making process, there were only two schools he had his eye on.

“My top two schools were Michigan and Syracuse. But Michigan got their last recruit so it made it easy for me to pick Syracuse,” Williams said. “My family wanted me to go to Michigan but in the end it’s really about where I am happy.”

Rutgers had been the first school to show some interest in the 6-foot-2, 190-pound playmaker.

“In the beginning, I was interested in Rutgers but they just got a new offensive coordinator and receiver coach and I didn’t really like that,” Williams said. “I didn’t really go on visits to the other schools. Plus, I wanted to see if other schools were interested in me.”

Former Hurricane senior wide receiver Jarrod West is part of the Syracuse offense which finished 29th nationally in passing last season. Williams is looking to pick up right where West leaves off as he becomes part of the Orange scoring attack.

“I want to play as a freshman,” Williams said. “The coaches talked about me coming in and making an impact right away so that’s what I want to do. But (for now) I’m just going to keep working hard and staying humble so that I can have a great senior year.”

With a little over a month until he begins his senior campaign, he already feels like making his decision has relieved some of the extra pressure for this season. As the reigning Express-Times Player of the Year, Williams is coming of his junior season in which he caught 59 passes for 986 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“I wanted to make my decision before I started my final season so that I could just focus on playing,” Williams said. “Now that I commit to Syracuse, it definitely released a lot of pressure. I am just going to keep working hard and try to have a great senior season.”

He also holds the records for single-season receptions, and career catches (98), receiving yards (1,691) and touchdowns (22) for Liberty.

Williams has yet to make his official visit to his future school for the next few years but is hoping to make the trip on Saturday, Oct. 5 when the Orange host Clemson.

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