Welcome to the first installment of 22 for ‘22, our series highlighting twenty two of the prospects Georgia Bulldog fans need to know about for the class of 2022. We begin with a versatile defensive tackle out of west Georgia who could be the cherry on top of a dominant defensive line class for Tray Scott and Kirby Smart.
Mykel Williams out of Columbus’s Hardaway High School counts offers from not only Georgia but also Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Florida, USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and two dozen others. The 6’5, 260 pound standout enjoyed a stellar junior season in 2020, tallying 69 tackles, 17 sacks, and forcing 3 fumbles for the Golden Hawks.
The above offer list confirms that college coaches noticed. His recruiting rankings confirm that recruiting analysts noticed as well. Williams is currently rated the #41 player in the nation, the #4 defensive tackle, and the #5 player in the state fo Georgia in the 247Sports Composite rankings. Williams recently earned a coveted fifth star from Rivals’ analysts, and is now the #29 player in the country on their list.
What put Williams so in demand? He’s a player who stands out both getting off the bus and making plays on the field. As we’ve discussed often in these types of breakdowns one of the tricks of college recruiting is projecting what a 17 year old player will be able to do at age 19 or 20. Williams is already pushing 6’6, and his frame is big enough that some schools actually project him as an offensive tackle. But he doesn’t have a lot of body fat and it’s not hard to see him ending up in the 275-280 range.
But Williams is more than a big body. Check out this brief video of him working with former NFL standout and current Atlanta area defensive line coach Chuck Smith.
Williams has good hip bend for a guy that tall, and the arm length to get his hands on offensive linemen first. He uses his hands well to get off linemen, something you see a lot from the guys who work with Smith, a master pass rusher in his NFL days. We talk a lot in recruiting about how it’s easier to teach technique than athleticism. Williams is a hot commodity because he doesn’t make coaches choose between the two, and as a result looks like he could play meaningful snaps as soon as he arrives on campus. Add that he’s shown great effort and a positive attitude on the field and is likely an easy academic qualifier, and Williams is one of those no-brainer priority players.
Some coaching staffs want all of their defensive linemen to be basically interchangeable, able to play everywhere from a zero technique right over the center out to the tight end. Kirby Smart has never been one of those, and this recruiting class in a microcosm of that. Williams and current Bulldog commit Bear Alexander are both now five star recruits according to Rivals, but are very different players. Whereas Alexander is a true A gap player, wide and low with a quick first step, Williams is the type of player who would start out as an edge player, maybe moving inside in passing situations.
What are the odds Williams lands in Athens? Depends a little on who you ask. Georgia is the clear favorite in the 247Sports Crystal Ball tally at this point. And the Bulldogs have been recruiting he and his family hard.
Georgia showin Major Luv to my 2 talented babies pic.twitter.com/rDmreDXxHw— john johnson (@Jiggaman315John) January 29, 2021
Bulldog running backs coach Dell McGee is involved in Williams’ recruiting, not surprising given that McGee is the former head coach at Columbus’s Carver High and has a long list of contacts in the area. That being said, Williams has told interviewers throughout the recruiting process that Clemson was actually his childhood favorite school. He reports that his mother, like a lot of folks in Columbus, has long been an Alabama fan. I never count the Tuscaloosans out on a blue chip player from west of LaGrange. And for a player who’s said that getting developed for an NFL career is one of his main objectives, the Crimson Tide may be difficult to hold off due to their recent track record of putting big guys in the League.
Georgia however has made Williams a clear priority and has an appealing depth chart. Devonte Wyatt, Julian Rochester, Jordan Davis, and Travon Walker are likely all headed to the NFL after the 2021 season. There will be snaps up for grabs in Athens on day one for 2022 DL prospects, one reason the Red and Black are recruiting a larger than normal number of defensive tackles.
Williams is set to make his college decision on March 15th, his father’s birthday. Though with a recruit this talented the recruitment won’t necessarily end with that early decision. Until later,