Dabo Swinney and Christian Wilkins were talking on Clemson’s team plane Wednesday while en route to ACC media days when freshman defensive end Jordan Williams came up in the conversation.
“We’re really excited about Jordan,” Swinney said at the ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte on Thursday. “We signed two D-linemen, he and Justin Foster from up here in North Carolina. Excited about both of these young men. I was actually just talking to Christian about Jordan last night on the plane.
“Christian was just kind of telling me how impressed he was with those freshmen, and Jordan is well-coached, well-prepared.”
Williams, a four-star recruit, national top-150 prospect and U.S. Army All-American in high school, arrived on Clemson’s campus last month at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, and physically ready to compete for playing time right away.
Richard Yeargin’s season-ending neck injury that he sustained in a car accident in June and the transfer of Lasamuel Davis have opened the door of opportunity for Williams to avoid a redshirt and see the field this fall.
Swinney believes Williams can make an early impact for the Tigers.
“He’s one of those guys — obviously haven’t been on the field with him yet — but one of those guys that’s going to get a real opportunity early,” Swinney said. “We’re going to be talented but young in our depth at defensive end, and he’s a guy that I think will have a chance to fill in.”
During his final two seasons at Frank W. Cox High in Virginia Beach, Va., Williams racked up 89 tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss, 10 passes defended, three caused fumbles and five fumble recoveries, including one that he returned for a touchdown.
Williams possesses the size to fit right in with the likes of Austin Bryant (6-4, 265), Clelin Ferrell (6-5, 265) and Xavier Kelly (6-4, 265), while he is strong and athletic. The question with true freshmen, especially those that weren’t early enrollees, is how quickly they adjust to the next level from a mental standpoint.
Swinney, along with Wilkins, is optimistic about Williams, and Swinney is looking forward to seeing him in action when fall camp begins for Clemson on Aug. 4.
“Just listening to Christian (Wednesday) night talk about him, sounds like he’s going to be a guy that we’re going to be excited about when we get on the practice field with him,” he said.
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