Aeris Williams (West Point, Miss. West Point) made official what many had expected for the past few weeks and committed to Mississippi State today over Florida State and Wisconsin. The 6-foot-1, 211-pound Williams physically looks the part of an SEC running back and could be the school’s best running back since Anthony Dixon set the school record for rushing yards before heading to the NFL after 2009.
A frequent visitor to Starkville, Williams has been on campus eight times according to his timeline of events on 247Sports. After he attended the Bulldogs camp July 19 he named Mississippi State his leader the next day. 11 days later Williams is Dan Mullen’s highest ranked recruit.
The reason Williams chose the in-state team over Florida State where he had a good relationship with former Mississippi State coach Tim Brewster was that sentiment recruits often mention about feeling at home.
“It was fun going to different places,” Williams tells Paul Jones. “Going to new places to visit was fun but when I went to Mississippi State, that was just home for me. Florida State was up there but I didn’t feel at home there like I did at Mississippi State.”
LaDarius Perkins will move on to the NFL after what should be his second straight 1,000-yard season, and 2014 will give Williams the opportunity to share the load with incoming freshman Ashton Shumpert. Ironically enough, Shumpert and Williams are graded equally by 247Sports with a 94 grade.
This will form a formidable one-two punch with each running back at least 6-foot-1 and more than 205-pounds. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Williams near 215 or 220 when his freshman season arrives. With Dak Prescott under center following Tyler Russell’s graduation this year it stands to reason that the ground game will be relied upon heavily as Prescott gets comfortable running the offense.
I think Williams has star potential, and the presence of Shumpert will make both players better as competition tends to bring out the best in each player. He may not approach 3,994 career yards of Dixon, but he should be every bit the fan favorite that Booby was in his four years at Starkville.
Mississippi State became much better today with Williams’ commitment to give Mullen two of the top six recruits in the Magnolia State as he wrestles with Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze for control of the state.
Williams is a four-star recruit, according to 247Sports, and the No. 9 running back after rushing for 1,704 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior.