Believe it or not, even Alabama has recruits flip, and Miami Sophomore CB, Christian Williams, was a prime example of that last summer. And, while the Alabama native did not play much in his freshman year, he should be expected to carve out a role in Miami’s CB rotation this year.
Christian’s Recruiting Process
Early in Williams’ process, it did not even appear that Miami was on his radar. Hailing from Daphne, Alabama and ranked as the 160th recruit nationally in 247Sports Composite rankings, Williams showed an early affinity for Bama, as well as other powerhouses such as LSU, Clemson, Texas A&M, and Florida.
Williams ended up committing to Alabama in April 2018. And due to the fact that he grew up a Crimson Tide fan, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the pledge would remain steady, especially as he began to forge relationships with Bama coaches and personnel.
However, around January 2019, the tide was starting to turn for the Bama commit, as Williams’ pledge did not seem so solid after all. During the weeks leading up to National Signing Day, Williams spent time visiting numerous schools, such as perennial DBU, LSU, but also Miami. Low and behold, Miami ended up securing Williams on signing day over the likes of Nick Saban and company, as well as LSU, and other schools known for nationally renowned secondaries.
Williams’ Skills and Style of Play
Despite missing on some big CB prospects, Mike Rumph deserves immense credit for plucking Williams out of SEC territory. During his recruiting cycle, Williams stood at 6’1”, 182lbs, but has since bulked up to 195lbs for the 2020 season. The versatile corner plays with good length and physicality as he could be plugged anywhere between pure CB, slot, or Safety.
In high school, at the Opening Finals, Williams recorded a 4.64 40-yard dash, 4.38 shuttle, and a 34.8-inch vertical jump. Williams also exhibited his versatility by starring in basketball. His long limbs are definitely his strong suit as he exhibits a wide wingspan and large strides. He also competed in the 2019 Under Armour Game.
As to his playmaking ability, he has been described as more quick than fast, and can be effective and lineup in many different schemes. That is, Williams can be trusted in zone coverage, working out of the slot, off-man, or dropping back into deeper coverage, even at Safety based on his physicality. While man coverage is generally the most difficult adjustment for young college CBs, Williams appears like he has a good ability to read QBs’ eyes in order to track the ball, while also utilizing his speed to keep up with wideouts, often closing in on coverage at the end of plays. He’ll certainly continue to refine his man coverage ability at the next level. Even more, Williams displays a good burst to make physical plays off the edge and make open field stops in the flats, which should come in handy on blitz packages and defending short plays.
During his senior season, Williams recorded 52 solo tackles and eight interceptions. In addition, Williams showed off his burst and long arms by specializing in attempts to block kicks and punts. Williams also was featured at RB.
It is a good sign that he has added onto his frame. That trait, improvement in man coverage, and finding a true identity in the secondary, will be the big things to look at in his 2020 campaign. Although, based on his versatility, the Miami defensive coordinators could utilize Williams in different formations to confuse offenses.
Expectations for 2020
During his freshman campaign, Williams played only 14 defensive snaps and recorded five tackles, mostly in the Bethune-Cookman game, and he had a coverage grade of 66.8 on the season according to Pro Football Focus. He also broke up a pass in the end zone on the last play of the Bethune-Cookman game in order to seal the 63-0 shutout (can never let opponents get too close). Last year, he was tucked behind Trajan Bandy and Te’Cory Couch. But this year, he is expected to see time in the rotation with Al Blades Jr., Couch, and DJ Ivey. Due to his versatility, he should be utilized in various roles.
Defensive Coordinator, Blake Baker, noted that he was getting action with the first team defense during the spring practices:
“I know Al and DJ have the jump on Christian and T.C., but if I remember correctly to those four days (of spring ball) that Christian Williams started two, maybe three of the four days. He was having a great, great spring camp and T.C. was doing a lot of great things too.”
It is always nice to beat perennial powerhouse, Alabama, in anything in college football, even if it is a recruiting battle. And while it is generally uncommon for Miami to pluck players out of their grasp, Williams was a nice addition who should expect a more pronounced role this upcoming season. Hey, with any luck, maybe Williams can also convince current 2021 Alabama recruit and five-star WR/Miami native, Jacorey Brooks, to flip the switch as well.