Freshman defensive end Mykel Williams impresses in first spring

Freshman defensive end Mykel Williams impresses in first spring

Entering the spring, one of the new Georgia players garnering plenty of attention was defensive end Mykel Williams. As Williams enters the summer, all signs indicate the former five-star made the most of the start to his college career.

Williams started at defensive end for the Red team — the first-team defense — in last week’s G-Day scrimmage and showed he could hold his own against an SEC offensive line. By the scrimmage’s end, Williams had one tackle to cap off a productive spring with the Bulldogs.

“Mykel, he’s really big for a freshman. He’s a great sponge, learns the playbook pretty fast. Just knows a lot of technical stuff,” Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo said after the spring game. “I talk to other guys like Nolan [Smith], other guys that play his position, and they say he’s amazed them as well. So, I’m looking forward to what he brings.”

One of the players who has watched Williams up close, defensive tackle Zion Loguehas also liked what he saw.

Logue credited Williams for stepping up at defensive end alongside redshirt freshman Tyrion Ingram Dawkins, noting the Bulldogs had a couple injuries early in the spring that forced players to step up. Logue added Williams has been learning the system as a mid-year enrollee and that the true freshman has shown he wants to come in and show what he’s capable of.

In Logue’s opinion, Williams’ pass rushing ability stands out above all else.

“His twitch — he knows what move he wants to make before the o-lineman sets,” Logue said. “I just think if he keeps working he’ll be a hell of a player here.”

Williams has plenty of work ahead, but he hopes to make plays in Athens just like he did as a high school standout in Columbus, Georgia.

Williams made waves with 69 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 17 sacks as a junior at Hardaway High School in 2020, and even though opposing coaches knew to run away from him in 2021 he still came up clutch. Williams capped off his prep career by racking up 81 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks, which earned him Maxwell Football Club Defensive National High School Player of the Year honors at year’s end.

Williams came to Georgia with a lot of hype, but his new head coach made sure to temper expectations early.

When asked about Williams during the second week of spring, Smart explained the importance of not rushing a young guy like Williams as he learns the ropes.

You guys put so much expectation on these guys. I’m just trying to get Mykel to know what a 6-technique is and a 9-technique is, just like I did with Travon [Walker] when he first got here,” Smart said on March 22. “He doesn’t have to be Travon Walker. That is not what he has to do. We’re not going to replace Travon Walker; we don’t have another Travon Walker. Those guys are once-in-a-lifetime players when they’re that size and that speed.

“We’re going to coach the guys we have, and we’re going to teach them to play really hard and really physical [and] not have the expectation to be compared to someone else because I don’t like those comparisons.”

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