Miami football recruiting: James Williams, the No. 1 athlete in the Class of 2021, commits to Hurricanes

The top-ranked athlete in the Class of 2021 is staying home. Five-star prospect James Williams, the No. 1 athlete and No. 9 overall player in the upcoming recruiting class committed to Miami (FL) on Tuesday over Georgia.

“I would like to thank everybody who been there for me in my life and mainly thank the man above for giving me the skills and the people around me to help get to where I have to be and feed feed my family,” Williams wrote on Twitter. “Also I would like to thank all the high schools that push me to be great in the classroom. Next I want to thank all the schools that give me an opportunity to play for their college. For that been said I will announce that I will not be leaving the Sunshine State of Florida and shutting down my recruitment and will be signing to the University of Miami.”

Williams is a 6-foot-5, 218-pounder from American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida. He is a multi-dimensional star who was compared to former Clemson star and current Arizona Cardinals rookie Isaiah Simmons by 247 Sports director of scouting Barton Simmons.

“One of the most rare body types in the 2020 class,” Simmons wrote. “Long, streamlined athlete with a massive safety frame that would more traditionally translate to a box defender. Not bulky. Lean and muscled with continued developmental upside. Despite long levers, shows a smooth backpedal and natural defensive back movement skills. Very effective as a single-high safety playing centerfield and tracking down the football. Good ball skills. Shows some good feel in hole coverage navigating intermediate and middle-breaking routes. Has shown good timing and feel as a blitzer.”

“Has the athleticism to make plays on the football and in run support and still stay on his feet and under control. Effective at wide receiver on the high school level. Active ripping at the football and forcing the issue as a disruptor. Despite overwhelming physical tools, more of a finesse defender. Needs to develop a killer instinct as a tackler. Unique size and athleticism combination gives him versatility to be a chess piece as a traditional safety, linebacker, rover or even a situational edge rusher. Will be an impact Power Five starter that projects as a first round NFL Draft pick that offers versatility that we don’t see every year.”

Williams is the 19th commitment in Miami’s upcoming recruiting class. The Hurricanes currently rank No. 11 overall and No. 3 in the ACC in the updated 247 Sports composite rankings.

—CBS SPORTS