CardinalSportsReport – Sting Factor: Justin Williams-Thomas flips from

On Sunday, Stanford football lost a transfer commit in former Tennessee running back Justin Williams-Thomas, who decided to take his talents to Telegraph Avenue instead of Palm Drive.

On my way up to yesterday’s Stanford-Cal women’s basketball game, I received word of him possibly flipping to Cal and before halftime of the game, he had indeed flipped his commitment to the Golden Bears. Williams-Thomas left a Stanford team/class group chat on Saturday, which raised some eyebrows and then he followed that up with a decision to take down his Stanford commitment tweet, adding even more fuel to the belief that he was no longer committing to the Cardinal.

An interesting piece of information that also learned while this was all going down was that he was visiting Cal on Sunday, making it feel like a flip to the Bears was possibly in the works. With Stanford classes starting today for winter quarter, it seemed obvious that we’d know soon enough what his fate with Stanford was going to be. What seemed a bit surprising though was how quickly he flipped his commitment to Cal. I was thinking he might back off his commitment to Stanford first, wait at least a few days, and then commit to Cal. But alas, he feels like Berkeley is where he wants to be and decided to not delay the inevitable.

Sting factor: American entomologist Justin O. Schmidt created his own sting pain index that has four levels of pain. One creature who stings at the fourth and highest level is the bullet ant, which resides in the rainforests of Central and South America. Schmidt describes the pain of the sting of a bullet ant as “pure, intense, brilliant pain…like walking over flaming charcoal with a three-inch nail embedded in your heel.” It’s the kind of pain that can take several days to fully recover from.

The Sateré-Mawé, an indigenous people of Brazil, actually use the stingers of the bullet ant in their initiation rites required for people to become warriors. Apparently, this is something that a prospective warrior has to do multiple times in order to prove their readiness. Yikes!

If we are using the Schmidt Index, I’m giving the loss of Williams-Thomas a Pain Level 3 sting for the Cardinal. This is comparable to getting stung by the most painful of wasps. Pain that can last for up to 30 minutes.

Stanford was really excited to have Williams-Thomas coming aboard. He is a former 4-star running back, who would have been the highest offensive commit for them in the 2022 class had he committed to them as a freshman. Running back is a spot where they could use more depth at and so to lose him, especially to their rival Cal, really does sting.

The reason why I don’t give this a Level 4 grade is that would imply this was some sort of program changing loss that could take a couple of seasons for them to get over. Stanford fortunately has a couple of really talented running backs in Casey Filkins and E.J. Smith, who if they stay healthy, should be able to hold the fort down just fine for the next couple of seasons. Stanford also signed a really promising four-star talent in Sedrick Irvin, Jr. in the 2023 class last month. So, things could definitely be worse. Still, a Level 3 grade is a significant sting. It’s a sting you definitely feel and don’t easily get over.

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