Brandon Williams is a gigantic man who plays defensive line for Division II Missouri Southern State University in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Williams is 6’3", 325 pounds and was recently named MIAA defensive player of the year.
Williams had an incredible senior season. He had 68 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, two pass breakups, eight quarterback hurries, five forced fumbles and a safety. Williams plays as a nose tackle, but is versatile enough to play any position from a 0-technique (lined up directly over the center), to a 5-technique (lined up on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle).
During his senior season, Williams broke the Missouri Southern sack record, and he finished with 27 sacks during his career at school. To make it clear, Williams is not just a sack artist, but a complete football player who can stop the run and get to the quarterback.
I got the chance to talk to Williams after his senior season ended. He is a charming, engaging, vibrant young man who left me with a very positive impression of who he is, both as a football player and as a person. I imagine that teams are going to fall in love with him during the pre-draft process where they get to meet with him.
The first question I asked was what position he played in college.
“I would be a nose guard”.
I asked him what position he projected himself to play in the NFL.
“I can play in either scheme, a 3-4 or 4-3 because in college I played the whole D-line and then, and when we went to our 3-3 stuff, I was the outside 5-tech as well as over the center. I played in any and every position, so I am comfortable playing in any scheme.”
I asked him what his strength did for him playing along the interior of the defensive line. I wondered if he liked throwing offensive linemen around, so I asked if he liked to stack and shed, or get rid of double-teams.
“It’s all of the above. Playing run stop, playing pass, breaking down double-teams, that was really great. Also, it gives me great pleasure getting off of the ball, the first couple of steps, getting into the offensive linemen and pushing him back two or three yards, it puts pressure on the quarterback as well as giving the running back a hard time to pick a hole.”
We talked about the number of sacks that he has, and how he could get that much pressure on the quarterback from the middle of the defensive line. I asked him how he felt about putting up the number of sacks that he has.
“It feels good. It gives me opportunities to get into different positions and not stay in one position and it gives me a better advantage to use my talents more in a wider range. Playing defensive end, working the 5-technique on the tackle, I can play the run and play between the guard and the center, or I can play between the tackle and the guard.”
He explained that teams were triple-teaming him in the middle at the end of the season and his coaches put him outside to give him a better chance at making plays.
I asked him what his favorite moment as a college athlete was.
“My son was born recently and the first game he came to, I broke the school sack record, so that was probably the best time”
We talked about the process that is going to lead up to the 2013 NFL draft. He was adamant in saying that he just wanted to get picked to have an opportunity to prove himself.
I asked what he wanted to show teams during the process.
“I want to show them just because I'm a small-school guy doesn't mean [I can’t play]. I'm a small-school guy, but I can hang with the best of them. You know, I'm the kind of guy who doesn't take no for an answer. If you tell me I can’t do something, I am going to prove you wrong. I’m going to show them that no matter who the competition is, I’m the guy for it.”
Williams told me that he thinks he can run a 40-yard dash time below the 5.0 second mark and that he “expects his 40 time to be around 4.9’s.” It would be reminiscent of what Kansas City Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe did at the 2012 NFL combine, and it would shoot his draft stock soaring as he can play football and he is not just a workout wonder.
I asked Williams what an NFL team would be getting if they were to draft him.
“They would be getting a hard-working player, you know? A player that says what he does and does what he says. I think of myself as a stand-up guy. I think that I am a well-rounded player, you know, on and off the field.”
Williams goes to school in Joplin, Mo., the community that was devastated by the tornado that struck on May 22, 2011. Williams talked about the experience of going through the tornado.
“Oh man, that was a devastating thing. Pretty much like a minute warning because usually the tornado warning, tornado sirens go off goes off, and it’s like nothing happens. So a lot of people kind of just took that for granted and just, you know, just blew it off a little bit and then you got like a one-minute, it’s like, 'Hey, there's a tornado on the ground, get to shelter.' I mean, there should have been thousands of people dead, but there's only 156, you know?”
Williams talked about volunteering after the tornado, helping people who had lost their homes and trailers. He talked about helping to get through the rubble and helping people to rebuild their homes and their lives.
I asked if there was a lesson that he took from it.
“Oh yeah, just it can be taken from you with the snap of a finger, you know, just make the best of what you have now because tomorrow's never promised, you know, it's just, it's just one of those things that's just like, it's just crazy how it happened and I just try to make the most of my day, every day.”
Williams is going to be training with defensive line guru Pete Jenkins in Texas to prepare for what is coming in the run-up to the draft. He is going to surprise people with his workouts and we have a comparison from last year.
Dontari Poe blew up his workout at the combine in 2012 and it sent his draft stock through the roof. He ended up being selected No. 11 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. Williams is going to do similar things, like running a great 40-yard dash and bench pressing 225 pounds more than 35 times. Williams is capable of doing what Poe did.
He is going to blow teams away when he meets with them, and he has another thing that he can point to, and that is the quality of play that he has shown as a football player. Williams is not just a workout wonder, but a kid who plays a violent brand of football at a high level, and it will set him apart from other players in the draft.
Coming into the season, Williams was highly ranked by BLESTO Scouting. He was the No. 6-ranked senior defensive tackle in the country, and it is clear that there are those that really like him as a player. Couple that with a great workout and excellent meetings, and it should surprise no one if Williams were to get drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Scott Bischoff is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials.