Greg Williams has come a long way since he changed positions on the defensive side of the ball following his arrival to Clemson ahead of the 2019 season.
A linebacker in high school, Williams moved to defensive end after he enrolled last summer and made strides over the course of the season while redshirting.
Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall likes the growth Williams has shown to this point and is excited to see where he is when spring practice rolls around in late February.
“I think his development at that position has gotten better,” Hall told The Clemson Insider recently. “He’s gotten bigger, stronger and obviously faster. This spring will be a big one for him, and we’re looking forward to getting started with him.”
Hall said the 6-foot-3 Williams now weighs somewhere between 238 and 245 pounds, having taken advantage of Clemson’s “Power Hour” lifting program for redshirt and scout team players, led by strength and conditioning coach Joey Batson and his staff.
“I think in the weight room is an area that he’s gotten better,” Hall said of Williams. “I think Greg loves weights. Just the way we lift weights around here and the way Coach Batson and those guys do it, I think that part of it has gotten better. And then his overall gaining weight wise, he’s gotten a lot better as well.”
Williams, a Shrine Bowl participant in 2018, was considered one of the top linebackers in the state of South Carolina coming out of Swansea High School. A four-year starter there, he was named the Region 5 Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2018 after recording 78 tackles with a sack, two forced fumbles and three interceptions.
Hall says Williams responded well after being approached by the coaches about switching positions.
“I think he’s taken to it pretty well,” Hall said. “Obviously in the beginning, I’m sure you come in, you want to play the position that you were recruited at. We told him that hey man, we think what fits you best is the defensive end, and so now you’ve got to learn how to put your hand in the dirt, you’ve got to understand that now it’s contact every play. There’s a physicality to all of it, but now you’re closer to the ball than you were before and it’s a different mindset. I think he’s handled that transition really well, and now like I said, when we start spring ball, that’ll be a big bar for him moving forward.”
While Williams has very little experience heading into the 2020 season – he played only 14 snaps across four game appearances last season – Hall sees a bright future ahead of Williams and believes he has a high ceiling.
“When you think about that, for a guy that’s raw and never played the position, I think the sky’s the limit for him,” Hall said.
“So his potential, really, I see some great things happening for him. Naturally, he’s a physical player. Now he’s just got to get the techniques and the fundamentals right. But naturally, he’s very physical, he likes to hit, he’s not afraid of contact, which is a plus for me. You don’t want a guy that’s shying away from contact. That’s not Greg. And now, it’s really just understanding that position and being able to play fast and not play hesitant. And then he’s a smart guy, so he knows what to do, he understands the playbook. Now, it’s just a matter of just going out and get it done.”
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