“He’s going to be very good”

Georgia hadn’t started a true freshman in the season opener since 2018 when Tyson Campbell accomplished the feat. The Bulldogs have signed a top-4 recruiting class in the past four recruiting cycles, but none of those vaunted recruits have been able to find immediate playing time.

Until Mykel Williams lined up on defense in the first game of Georgia’s 49-3 win over Oregon. If you talk to those around him, it’s no surprise that Williams saw the field early for Georgia.

“The first day I saw it I thought it was Travon (Walker) back in our locker room,” offensive lineman Tate Ratledge said. “Just the way he trains, he’s quick, he’s physical, he moves. You see him in a 3-tech, you know you gotta go or he’s going to beat you.

Williams had just one tackle on the afternoon, but only defensive tackle Jalen Carter played more snaps on the defensive line than Williams did with his 29 snaps. Georgia clearly has big plans for Williams this season. He just needs to give him the experience he needs.

He wasn’t the only freshman to make an impact on the afternoon, with Malaki Starks notching a first-quarter interception. He also led the team in tackles and snaps played on Saturday. Among Georgia’s 2022 signing class, Williams ranked second in snaps played.

Related: Malaki Starks has an immediate impact on Georgia’s new football defence: ‘One of the greatest interceptions I’ve ever seen’

Walker’s comparison numbers often come up with Williams, as both were Georgia State’s 5-star defensive end during the recruiting process. Walker didn’t start until his freshman year, however.

Related: Mykel Williams-Travon Walker comparisons not slowing down as 2022 season approaches: ‘He’s a monster’

Williams entered the field much faster thanks to the way he trained.

Yeah, practices drove him, just like that will keep him from starting,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “If he doesn’t train well, it’s not really difficult for us – you know, you go based on who trains better, who gives you the best chance of winning. And he did that, really, since he’s been here, his work ethic and his humility have been off the charts.

“And if he keeps doing that, coupled with his ability, then he’ll probably keep starting. But he’s got to play well and he’s got to play big for a guy who’s doing 260, 265.”

Perhaps most heartening about Williams’ debut performance is that Oregon’s game was the least experienced he’s ever had in a Georgia uniform. The more action he sees in a game, the better he will improve.

Coaches, as Smart did on Monday, point to how quickly players and teams grow between their first game and their second game. That should be a scary thought for the Samford Bulldogs, who Georgia hosts this Saturday.

“The biggest growth for these guys is game one, two, three in terms of reacting to their mistakes,” Smart said. “And, you know, what makes a guy – I’ve always wondered, you know, who’s going to sell the potion that keeps a player from making the most egregious mistake, things which you spot a lot. And you have them in the first game. I came to accept them. It’s more what you answer them. We’ll find out what the answers of these young freshmen are this week.

Just because Williams started against Oregon doesn’t mean he’ll do it again this weekend. Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins and Tramel Walthour also played key snaps for Georgia on Saturday and all are expected to be part of the rotation. Georgia has defensive position options and Williams is one of them.

This team is confident that the best players will play. It’s nothing personal when you don’t start, as players now everything is determined in training. Everything on this team is earned and not given to a player just because you were a 5 star player in high school.

“He’s still young, he needs to keep working,” inside linebacker Trezmen Marshall said. “By working in training, listening to coaches and being coachable, he’s going to be very good.”

Trezmen Marshall explains why Mykel Williams is “going to be very good”

More Georgia football stories around DawgNation

About Betty J. Snyder

Check Also

UMass announces October 8 football game with Liberty will be celebrated as #PrideDay

Photo: Twitter UMass isn’t good at football, but apparently good at trolling, as evidenced by …