2014 recruit and 4-star all-purpose back Stanley Williams is suggesting that his "fake visit" to Notre Dame is all a big misunderstanding.
To be fair, there's certainly a lot to get confused about.
This all started with a quote from Williams regarding a visit that he had to Notre Dame. Here's the quote, as originally reported by Will Biggers of BlueandGoldIllustrated.com:
“The visit went great,” Williams said. “It was great to experience something new and different, and we had a great time at the game. I had been looking forward to it for a while, and it was great to just get out there and see a new place. I plan on getting up there a couple more times in the future.”
This would seem like your normal run-of-the-mill visit reaction quote, but there's one very important kicker to point out. This visit actually never happened.
Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that a Notre Dame coach saw the story and alerted Blue and Gold Illustrated to let them know that the trip never happened. Biggers then followed up with Williams and got the story behind the fake visit:
When BlueandGold.com learned that the story was fabricated and contacted the Peach State ball-carrier, he apologized for his deceit and explained that he lied because he was feeling a lot of pressure to take the visit, although he did not identify the source.
“I felt a lot of pressure to say I had went on the visit,” Williams said. “At the time I was supposed to go, but couldn’t go because of some things that I had going on.
“It was planned to happen but prior to some other engagements. I wasn’t able to make it.”
Pressure is the key word to focus on here. Top-notch recruits all around the country are consistently under pressure from schools, family, coaches, friends and media—and it appears that at least in this case, the pressure caused Williams to make a decision.
No harm, no foul, right?
For all intents and purpose the story could have ended there and we could have chalked it up to a young kid making a silly mistake under pressure, but Radi Nabulsi of ESPN.com is reporting today that Williams is saying that this is all a misunderstanding:
"It was just a big misunderstanding," Williams said. "I just don't want people to think I have a bad reputation of lying or saying where I am going and things like that. But I told them I wasn't going to be able to make it, because I had a basketball game. When they texted me and asked if I was going, I said I was supposed to go, but some other things came up. We had a game on Saturday, and I wasn't able to make it."
Nabulsi goes on to report that Williams doesn't know where the original quotes came from:
However, Williams was at a loss to explain quotes attributed to him in which he described his visit to Notre Dame.
"Those are incorrect," Williams said. "I never told anyone I was going anywhere I wouldn't be. I approach the media well, and I tell the truth about my recruitment."
Pressed on where the quotes came from, Williams said of the reporters, "Well, I can't really say what they did and what they didn't [do]."
Like I said, this could have ended with the apology and we all could have moved on. I don't know many people who would hold a bad decision under pressure against a junior in high school, and Williams could have more than moved on from the "fake visit."
His quotes to Nabulsi are completely opposite from the "apology" that he gave to Blue and Gold Illustrated though, and in fact, they seem to suggest that he believes somebody made his quotes on the visit that never happened up. At the very least, he doesn't appear willing to take responsibility for them anymore.
Yet he already did?
Williams has one thing right, and that's the fact that this situation is all one big misunderstanding. This is arguably one of the stranger stories you'll hear on the recruiting trail, and something is just not adding up. There's also the issue of the reasoning behind everything. Why would a visit be made up, and what's the motive behind that? Who's at fault here, if anybody? Are we to believe that this is really all just a big misunderstanding? These are all questions that remain unanswered, for now.
He was quoted saying that he had a great visit to Notre Dame. That visit did not happen. Those are the facts.
Everything else is now the official gray area of this story.