Swinney on Williams: ‘Clemson people are going to love him’

Swinney on Williams: ‘Clemson people are going to love him’

Football

Swinney on Williams: ‘Clemson people are going to love him’

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Coaches excited about incoming freshman DT

When Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney thinks of incoming freshman defensive tackle Tre Williams, he is reminded of another defensive tackle who played for the Tigers not too long ago and departed as one of the most decorated and beloved figures to ever wear the orange and white.

Swinney likens Williams to former Clemson All-American Christian Wilkins and believes Williams will also be a fan favorite once the Tiger faithful get to know him.

Williams is expected to enroll later next month with the other summer enrollees in Clemson’s 2020 signing class.

“Clemson people are going to love him,” Swinney said after Williams signed in December.

“He’s got a big personality. He’s a very self-aware kid, very smart and a dynamic-type player. He’s got a little bit of a Christian Wilkins type of personality in that he’s kind of a natural leader and things like that.”

Clemson defensive tackles coach Todd Bates noted that Williams looks up to Wilkins and has tried to craft a similar playing style.

Williams was born in Windsor, Conn., which is located less than 30 minutes away from Suffield, Conn., where Wilkins played his prep ball at Suffield Academy.

“Tre, he grew up in Connecticut pulling for a certain No. 42 that used to play here – Christian Wilkins, that’s one of the guys he tried to model his game after,” Bates said. “And he’s just a joy to be around, man. He’s never at a loss for words, number one. He’ll light up any room … and he also matches that with work ethic.”

Williams attended St. Thomas More School in Oakdale, Conn., before transferring to private-school powerhouse St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., for his final two years.

“A really, really great school. Great program,” Swinney said. “They travel all over the country playing schools from California all the way back to the East Coast.”

Williams is ranked as high as the No. 6 defensive tackle and No. 44 overall prospect in the country for the 2020 class per ESPN.

The former four-star recruit was named a MaxPreps Junior All-American following the 2018 season, when he helped St. John’s to a 9-1 record and top-20 national ranking as a starting defensive tackle.

Last summer, Williams competed against some of the nation’s top talent at The Opening Finals in Frisco, Texas, and made the final top 10 of the lineman event.

“I’m so excited about Tre, man,” Bates said. “Tre is an instinctual player. You can tell he knows the game just by having conversations with him, and he’s very passionate, he’s eager to prove it. He wants everybody to know that he’s one of the best, so he’s going to get that opportunity at Clemson, just to show and develop.”

Williams fractured his left shoulder last August and missed a handful of games as a senior, but Swinney expected him to be recovered from surgery by the time he joins the team a month from now.

“By summer he should be able to be cut loose full speed,” Swinney said. “But I think he’s a guy that can play the nose, he can play the 3-technique, he can do a little bit of it all. He’s got a good high football IQ and going to be an exciting young player.”

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