The linebacker position is said to be going extinct by football observers and coaches. The days of a physically second-level defender who can stop the run as well as impact the passing game may by dying. Defenses are being forced to play nickel and dime coverages nearly all game, which is limiting the need for linebackers.
However, Tre Williams will be quick to say otherwise, as will the coaches who have seen him play. This will feature more insight into Williams and a breakdown of his strengths and weaknesses, along with highlights of his skills.
Predictions will also be made on his career at Auburn.
Williams, who is from Mobile, is a 2014 linebacker prospect who plays for St. Paul's Episcopal High School in Alabama. He played linebacker as a freshman, but was moved to safety as a sophomore where he totaled 77 tackles, two sacks and one interception.
Williams moved back to linebacker as a junior and was first-team All-State after registering 113 tackles. He is ranked No. 74 by ESPNU, 37th by Scout.com, 33rd by Rivals and is 38th in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
According to Scout.com, Williams received his first scholarship offer as a freshman from Florida State. His close relationship with Auburn co-offensive coordinator Dameyune Craig was instrumental in his decision to play on The Plains.
Williams, who is 6'2" and 230 pounds, has outstanding short area quickness. He flashes good read and react ability and can get to a ball-carrier in a flash in tight space.
Williams has good strength and does not back down from blockers when filling run alleys. He plays big at the point of attack, can clean himself up by pressing blockers off of him with good power.
While he can scrape laterally in each direction, Williams is best when he can crash on ball-carriers downhill. He is a physical tackler who denies ball-carriers extra yardage when he wraps up. Williams flashes solid blitz ability, and with college coaching, this area of his game could turn into an extra weapon.
Questions remain about Williams' athleticism in space. He has some stiffness to his athletic ability and may not be an ideal linebacker to play in coverage.
Asking him to cover a scatback on third downs could prove to be a mistake. Williams does not look comfortable buzzing back into coverage in zone schemes.
While Williams has adequate play speed, he is a quicker-than-fast athlete who lacks great long speed. Unless Williams improves his agility and becomes a looser athlete, he may be a two-down 'backer at Auburn.
In this 45-second highlight clip from the Full Ride crew, Williams skills are on display. One can see his short area closing quickness on several plays. Also, Williams' stiffness and limited athleticism are also visible.
This highlight clip is hosted by ESPNU Recruiting Director Tom Luginbill. In discussing this year's crop of inside linebackers, Luginbill breaks down Williams at the 45-second mark.
He also makes an interesting comparison of Williams' game to a current NFL linebacker.
Williams will continue to add weight and bulk to his frame at Auburn and will weigh more than 245 pounds as a senior. He could play the weak-side inside linebacker role for Ellis Johnson, but Williams should be more successful on the strong side.
Williams, who will be a starter early in his career on The Plains, will be a defensive captain and among the leading tacklers before he leaves Auburn.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.