2014 Prospect Profile: Jhonathon Williams

Michigan needs to get more consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. - Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan is in need of an end capable of getting to the passer now that Da'Shawn Hand is officially off the board. Is Jhonathon Williams capable of being that defender?

Film and Ratings

Hudl film

Berrien Springs, MI
Berrien Springs
6'6", 235 lbs

Service Star Rating Position Position Rank Overall Rank
247 *** SDE 26 N/A
ESPN *** DE 126 N/A
Rivals *** SDE N/A N/A
Scout *** DE 71 N/A

Williams doesn't have flashy ratings, coming in as a three-star across the board and failing to make the defensive end rankings on Rivals. It's interesting to note that both 247 and Rivals rank him as a strong-side player; I believe that Michigan wants him as a weak-side rush end.

Breakdown

Frame: A-
Williams is longer than any defensive end prospect Michigan has recruited in quite some time, and that includes four-star freshman Taco Charlton. The only problem is Williams' wiry frame, which is far too skinny to make him effective at the college level. He'll need at least a year in the weight room before he pushes 250-260 pounds, and even then he would be a long-down rush end. The good news is that he has the room to get up to 265 pounds and higher, which would make him a real physical specimen.

Strength: C+
As stated above, Williams needs some time to get into the weight room and add football weight. He's by no means weak, but his length makes him appear to be an athlete who isn't capable of using the bull rush or other power moves. He'll struggle mightily against the run until he gets stronger.

Explosiveness/Acceleration: B+
Speed: B+
Agility: B
This area, combined with his length, is where all of Williams' potential stems from. He is a long strider capable of chasing ball carriers down from behind, as seen on tape more than once; he gave up some five yards on one ball carrier, only to run around a defensive back and tackle the kid. He also looks like a poor man's Devin Funchess when lined up at tight end, which means he's pretty damn athletic.

On-Field Awareness: B
Williams shows good awareness and a great motor, keeping his eyes on the ball carrier and refusing to slow up until the play is blown dead. He can get a big too aggressive on certain plays, but this is guaranteed when breaking down a raw high school defensive end.

Technique: C-
Jhonathon's potential stems from high length and explosiveness; his downfall comes from his wiry look and poor rush technique. He comes out of his stance too high on the vast majority of snaps and doesn't use his hands as well as he should, which would be his greatest asset considering how long he is. He also lacks the strength needed to utilize a full range of rush moves.

Ceiling: A-
Williams is the definition of a high-risk, high-reward player. He has all of the physical tools needed to become a truly elite pass rusher somewhere down the line; it's no surprise that Missouri, which has produced some great NFL players despite average recruiting, wants to keep him in their class.

Given a redshirt year and a redshirt freshman year to bulk up and take in coaching, Williams could develop into a nightmare rush end. The catch is that all of this relies on his ability to learn and apply coaching to his game; he won't turn into an elite defender if he gets to 270 pounds of all muscle but still can't use his hands and rush moves properly.

Recruitment

After a relatively slow recruitment that saw many high-level programs pass up on him, Williams pulled the trigger and committed to the Missouri Tigers, which offered him the best combination of football and academics at that moment.

Fast forward nearly two months later, and Williams is now holding offers from both Michigan and Notre Dame. The Wolverines offered him just a few hours after five-star prospect Da'Shawn Hand left them behind for Alabama.

Prognostication

Much like in the profile I wrote on Vic Enwere, I won't give an outright prediction regarding the commitment of this player. We do know that Michigan is very much in the mix, as is Notre Dame, and that both have work to do in order to separate Williams from the Missouri Tigers, which look better than both the Wolverines and Fighting Irish this season.

Academics are working in favor of both outside programs, and proximity to home favors the Wolverines. The problem lies within Michigan's slow playing of Williams, who never would have received an offer had Da'Shawn Hand committed. The staff will need to convince Williams that he got his offer over other options at defensive end because they think they can turn him into a great player. We should know if he'll considering flipping in the coming weeks.

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