Recruiting

Commit’s cousin, 4-star receiver prospect considers Syracuse

A.J. Long and K.J. Williams are close. They attended Syracuse’s Spring Game together. As a quarterback and wide receiver, respectively, they’ve thrown the football around plenty of times. When Williams was playing in PA Swag 7-on-7 — a passing league tournament — two weeks ago, Long’s father was in attendance.

And in two years they could be united at Syracuse.

Long, a Class of 2014 quarterback from Lebanon, Tenn., committed to the Orange on March 13. Williams, his cousin and a four-star wide receiver from Bethlehem, Pa., has narrowed his choices down to SU and Michigan. His decision could come soon, or it could take some time, but if he chooses the Orange it will give SU a prospect unlike many it’s seen.

“Syracuse goes after those kids all the time. Landing them is another matter, and they haven’t landed K.J. yet either,” Scout.com’s Brian Dohn said. “But I think it would be a huge coup if Syracuse got him.”

A 6-foot-3-inch, 190-pound wide receiver, Williams ranks as the No. 36 wide receiver in the nation. Despite playing for a mediocre Liberty High School team, Williams hauled in 59 passes for 986 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has offers from loads of top-notch programs — UCLA, Missouri, Rutgers and Wisconsin — but it’s been reported that Williams has pinpointed the Orange and Wolverines as his two favorites.

The appeal of UM is obvious — it’s an elite program that perennially contends for Bowl Championship Series games. But SU’s appeal largely comes down to Long. Williams enjoyed his visit for the Spring Game, Long said, but the appeal of playing with his cousin —perhaps right away — is an undeniable perk.

“He’s tight with his cousin A.J. Long,” Dohn said. “Second, you have to look at Michigan and see Michigan just got another receiver commit. Are they going to take another receiver or not?

“He’s a kid who is a big body, who runs well, has big hands and will catch the ball. He’s what you want out of the offense that Syracuse is going to run.”

It’s certainly a factor, but it doesn’t make it a done deal. Scholarships aren’t wasted on quarterbacks just to try to lure a package deal.

But the Friendship Christian School quarterback has become an intricate part of the Orange’s recruitment. In a normal situation, SU would have a tough time competing with the Wolverines in a recruiting battle, especially in an area where Syracuse doesn’t have many inroads, but Dohn said Long’s active campaigning is a major factor. Still, Long doesn’t guarantee anything.

“K.J. actually came down here last year, last summer with A.J.’s dad. And he came down to one of our workouts and I met him,” Friendship Christian defensive coordinator Dwayne Lowe said. “But no, I don’t think that’s the case.”

For now Williams’ recruitment appears to be down to two. But it could open back up. Dohn, who’s closely followed Williams’ recruitment, doesn’t “get the sense that he’s ready to make a decision.”

So SU and UM will wait patiently for the verdict and hope other schools don’t get involved. Dohn said Williams still wants to see Kansas State and Miami (Fla.), but it also wouldn’t surprise him if he makes up his mind soon.

“He spoke about going to see some other schools,” Dohn said. “I could also see him turning around tomorrow and making a decision.”

Syracuse adds another 2013 wideout

Syracuse’s Class of 2013 keeps growing. Scout.com reported that the Orange picked up a verbal commitment from Sean Avant, a two-star wide receiver from Miramar (Fla.) High School, on Saturday. Avant is the fourth wide receiver in SU’s Class of 2013, and the fifth player from Florida.

Avant chose Syracuse over offers from Wake Forest, West Virginia, Central Florida, Florida International, Marshall, Bowling Green and South Alabama. He is the No. 200 receiver in the Class of 2013.

Avant hauled in 32 catches for 501 yards as a junior at Miramar, the alma mater of Syracuse cornerback Keon Lyn. The 6-foot, 170-pound wide receiver has been clocked at 4.5 in the 40-yard dash.

“He can run, he’s got good speed, he’s got good size,” Dohn said. “When you’re looking at getting a kid like him this late with his quality — he’s a good player. I don’t think there’s a lot of great players left to land.”

—Jacob Klinger, asst. sports editor, contributed reporting to this story.

Top Stories