Georgia football has signed an elite defensive back in every recruiting class with Kirby Smart as head coach. If 2021 is no different, James Williams could be that player in 2021.
Since taking the Georgia football head coaching job, Kirby Smart has excelled at signing blue chip defensive backs. Which should come as no surprise since Smart was an All-SEC defensive back when he played between the hedges over 20 years ago.
Since the 2017 class, Smart has signed Richard LeCounte III, Tyson Campbell and Tyrique Stenson. Each have gone on to contribute and even start games for the Bulldog defense. This most recent class features Kelee Ringo.
Based on this trend, Georgia football will sign another elite defensive back in the 2021 class. Fans should start getting acquainted with the best DBs in the nation, starting with the prospect on top of the rankings, James Williams. Who exactly is Williams? What kind of defensive back is he? And can the Bulldogs cash in on recent trends to sign him to the 2021 class?
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James Williams is a starting defensive back for the Western Wildcats of Davie, Fla. which is in Broward County, one of the most talent rich counties in the country. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that there were 52 Broward County products in the NFL last season. Four Broward County products were selected in the first round of last year’s NFL Draft.
Some of the current NFL players from Broward County include former Georgia Bulldogs Geno Atkins, Isaiah McKenzie, Sony Michel and Riley Ridley. Other notable players include Joey Bosa, Phillip Dorsett and Jason Pierre-Paul. Western High School in particular produced Jon Feliciano and Fabian Moreau. Some of the NFL’s best former players also hail from Broward County; Isaac Bruce, Michael Irvin and Asante Samuel to name a few.
And at the top of all Broward County prospects for 2021 is James Williams. Last season, Williams intercepted six passes and forced five fumbles while making 62 total tackles and scoring four touchdowns. Western finished the year with a 9-3 record and a 4-0 record in 8A District 14. Its season ended in the Class 8A Quarterfinals.
On the field
James Williams is a giant among defensive backs. At 6-5 and 218 lbs., he towers over the rest of the defensive backs ranked by 247Sports Composite.
Because of his size, it’s believed Williams could switch to linebacker in college. Which makes him a particularly interesting prospect for Georgia since in the Bulldog’s 3-4 defense, the sam linebacker position is typically the one that is replaced by an extra defensive back when Georgia switches to a nickel defense. But with Williams’ size and skill set, he can contribute at both spots, which could make personnel groups featuring him difficult for opposing quarterbacks.
Watching his highlights, The thing about Williams that stands out the most is that he’s always near the ball, regardless of where he’s lined up and direction of the play. There was more than one instance of Williams making a tackle around the line of scrimmage after being sent deep into coverage. Thanks to his frame, he’s able to cover a lot of ground with each stride.
Williams is also an excellent tackler. He’s physical and aggressive, but also plays under control. He’s not going to embarrass himself by being overzealous and missing tackles. A ball carrier is going to have to earn a missed tackle when running near Williams.
Georgia has had a lot of success in Broward County and South Florida as a whole. Sure, James Coley is no longer in Athens to recruit these guys, but Georgia can recruit the area based on reputation now. These kids know the stars who have left South Florida and showed out in Athens before earning big money in the NFL.
Then, there is Georgia’s recent history with defensive backs and the fact a former All-SEC defensive back is coaching the Bulldogs. Georgia is becoming a pipeline for defensive backs. Ultimately, that’s the goal of these blue chip prospects and they want to choose a school that will get them to the pros. At the very least, when Williams does choose his school, expect to see a Georgia hat on the table.