Unless you live under a rock you’ve heard that BYU RB Jamaal Williams has withdrawn from school and plans to redshirt for the 2015 season and return for the 2016 season. There are several rumors floating around about the situation that went down, that frankly just aren’t true.
Now, before we get into the nitty gritty, let me preface this by saying that Jamaal is a fantastic individual. He and his family love BYU and what it stands for. If you don’t believe me, check out his Mom’s wardrobe. She’s consistently swagged up in BYU gear from head-to-toe. The Williams love BYU, and of course BYU fans love the Williams family.
Having said that, Provo is unique. I grew up in not-so-far-away Pleasant Grove and I was blown away when I arrived at BYU, the atmosphere is different than anything else I have ever experienced and as a Mormon boy from Utah, I was in shock when I arrived. Now imagine this as a 17-year old double-minority whose home is two states away. It’s a difficult situation.
Football can help with some of that struggle. Jamaal’s identity as a person is inextricably linked to the gridiron and what he accomplishes there. Unfortunately, that was taken away from him last year when he suffered injuries to his ACL and posterolateral corner of his knee, the latter is much more significant.
ACL reconstruction has made significant improvements over the last several years, it’s not uncommon to see someone return from an ACL injury within a year of surgery, but the PLC injury is a completely different animal, if it’s not surgically repaired within two weeks of the injury, there is a very slim chance of getting back to 100%. Jamaal’s knee was taken care of, but this is still a long tedious recovery and there’s a chance that Jamaal wouldn’t even be back to 100% by the Mizzou game.
With the significance of his injury and realizing how it would delay his opportunity to return to his identity as an athlete. Not only was he hurt physically but he was struggling mentally. His grades started to slip and all things came to a head when there was an extremely minor honor code violation which was reported. As a repeat offender, his actions were reviewed a little more closely than if this was a first time offense. This was a catalyst to review everything that had occurred over the last 8-9 months and his immediate future in Provo. At this time, there was a decision made by Bronco to redshirt Jamaal for the 2015 season. This was the decision even before the HC office made any announcement about how they would address the 3rd and minor infraction by Jamaal. Family members, coaches and even Jamaal are now viewing this as an opportunity and maybe even a blessing in disguise. Taking some time away from Provo to clear his head and regain his academic, emotional, spiritual and physical health would be the best option.
For the immediate future, Jamaal is planning on taking online courses from another University in the state and plans to re-enroll at BYU and transfer those credits so he can complete his degree in the Spring and finish his career at BYU in the 2016 season. He will also be rehabbing and training in California to make sure the knee is 100% for next season.
Jamaal’s going through a difficult time and deserves our support instead of speculation, and rumors being spread about what may or may not have occurred in his personal life. Cougar Nation needs to get behind Jamaal and show that we have his back.
To get the full recap of Jamaal’s situation, listen here to the first hour of yesterday’s show where Ben clears the air.