Alabama Football: Is Eddie Williams the Answer for the Departed Julio Jones?

Dr. SEC@thedrsecAnalyst IINovember 7, 2011

photo from varsitysportseast.com
photo from varsitysportseast.com

The Alabama Crimson Tide started their 2012 recruiting class with an early commitment from four-star recruit Eddie Williams in August 2010.  Their first commitment could end up becoming the prize recruit of this class. I had read several intriguing write-ups about Williams, but none of them did justice to what I observed on film.

When I turned on the tape to watch Williams play, my first objective was to see what position he would be best fit for on the collegiate level. Rivals and 247 have him listed as a safety. Scout has him listed as a quarterback, and ESPN has him listed as an athlete.

After watching him on tape, I know why. Williams has played quarterback, wide receiver, and safety for the Arnold Marlins and despite playing through a shoulder injury this season, he was recently selected to the Under Armor All-American Game.

Williams is being recruited by Alabama as a safety. However, I am not convinced that he will remain there for two reasons. The first reason is because Alabama is loaded at safety for the next several seasons. One spot will be locked down by future All-American Vinnie Sunseri.

Of the seven players listed on the Alabama depth chart at Safety, one is a senior, two are juniors, two are sophomores and two freshmen.

The second reason I believe that he will not remain at safety is because he has the potential to be the wide receiver Alabama desperately needs.  Watching the Tide fall to LSU this week, one thing became clear. They dearly miss the presence of a tall, physical, playmaker at wide receiver with the departure of Julio Jones.

At 6’4" and 215 pounds, Willams might be the answer. However, since we do not know which position he will end up at, I will give a scouting report of both.

On the defensive side of the football, he could end up as an OLB or safety in the 3-4 scheme. One of the qualities that jumps off of the screen when watching Williams on defense are his instincts and anticipation skills. He looked best in zone coverage because of his ability to close in on the ball and deflect the pass.

When the ball is in the air, he looks like football's version of Dwight Howard—nothing flies in his zone.

Williams might be best when defending the run. He has great closing speed and takes direct lines to the offensive player. He craves contact and hits the opponent with purpose. He also does a great job of tackling in the open field.

Despite all of the intangibles he has on defense, he could become an elite wide receiver for the Tide.

Williams is not a world class sprinter by any means, but he runs a respectable 4.6 40-yard dash. However, that can be very deceiving. Some athletes run fast and other athletes play fast. The reason he plays much faster than he runs is because he has quick feet and runs crisp routs.

His quick feet allow him to come off the line fast and he has the best change of direction skills I have seen of any receiver in this class thus far.

He has the ability to go from second gear and fourth gear in less than five yards. This is what separated him from other receivers. Once the ball is in the air, he is like a center fielder in baseball running down a pop fly.

Once he leaves his feet for a reception, the battle is won. He has great body control and a 32.5 inch vertical leap. Once he catches the football, no one man is going to bring him down. He is very Julio Jones like with his yards after contact.

The way he enjoys contact, I have no doubt he will be a great blocking receiver. I am not saying he will have the success that Jones had, but he has the same qualities and demeanor.

If Williams concentrated at the receiver position only, he would be a five-star recruit. He is currently third on my wide receiver board.

Projection:

I scouted Duron Carter twice when he was playing JUCO ball. Carter is unlikely to be the player many Tide fans are hoping for—Williams is that player. If they move him to wide receiver it is not unreasonable to believe he will have over 500 yards receiving as a freshman.

If they keep him at safety he will get some playing time, but mostly in garbage minutes. If they move him to linebacker he will need to redshirt.

I believe he will be next season’s version of Georgia's Malcolm Mitchell. Not in his playing style, but how he's a highly regarded defensive player that could became his team’s best receiving option as a freshman. He might not be the next Julio Jones, but he will be the Tide’s first Eddie Williams.

He was recently asked at his All-American jersey presentation if he was still fully committed to the Tide. He responded, "Roll Tide, baby."

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