As unrest surrounds the University of Arkansas football team following the firing of head coach Bobby Petrino, a local recruit has spent the last day trying to unify the 2012 signing class.
Allen running back and four-star recruit Jonathan Williams spent most of Wednesday calling fellow recruits to make sure they were still on board to play in Fayetteville next fall.
“I just really wanted to talk to all the other commits and try to calm them down because the reason we all committed to Arkansas is because how great their school is. Their football program is great, but the academics are great and the campus is great, too. I just tried to talk to those guys and make sure they stayed a part of the Arkansas football team.”
The majority of the signees he spoke with felt the same as he does -- what Arkansas has to offer as a school outweighs the scandal surrounding the football program. Williams said none of the recruits he spoke with said they were reconsidering their college selection.
Williams initially heard of the scandal from friends attending Arkansas and players currently on the football team, but said he didn’t hear of Petrino’s firing until it was in the news.
“I wasn’t thinking much of it, but when it got the media attention that it got -- that’s when I started feeling nervous. I was just shocked,” Williams said of Petrino’s firing.
In the end, Williams said it was the assistant coaches who did most of the recruiting and created more of a connection with the incoming class than Petrino did. While Petrino was a factor in Williams' decision to pick Arkansas, all the school has to offer is really what made Williams decommit from Missouri last season and choose the Razorbacks.
Moving forward, if Williams could pick a new head coach for his future team, he said he would bring back former offensive coordinator and current UAB head coach Garrick McGee, who left Fayetteville before last season to take the helm for the Blazers.
“He was one of the guys who helped recruit me, and he would keep the coaching staff that is up there because that’s the staff he worked with,” Williams said. “That would be a good possibility in my eyes at least.”