Jonah Williams is a Scout.com four-star early January enrollee to The Capstone. The 6-5, 288 pound true freshman displayed the size, strength and mobility in the spring to be among a number of candidates Nick Saban and Assistant Head Coach/Tackles/Tight ends Mario Cristobal must consider as a starter for the opening game on September 3rd against USC. Williams was ranked no. 58th overall and fourth best at the position as a prep prospect. He played well enough in spring drills to earn strong consideration as the starting right tackle. Left tackle could be a viable option to insert the impressive first year player.
Cristobal spoke Thursday evening to the assembled media prior to appearing at the 22nd Annual DEX Imaging/Reese’s Senior Bowl L’Arche Football Preview in Mobile on the campus of the University of South Alabama at the Mitchell Center. The 2015 Scout.com National Recruiter of the Year has high hopes and praise for Williams. "Jonah is a special young man," Cristobal emphasized. "We've got a ton of special young guys on our team. He's a guy that came in as an early enrollee and (is) really just committed, very driven. I know coach Saban spoke about him at length on several occasions, and right away, he put himself in the mix to compete for a starting job on our offensive line. He has exceeded expectations -- maybe not his own. Again, he has high standards for himself. So we expect him to be a tremendous, tremendous contributor for our football team."
BamaMag.com spoke to another admirer prior to the 2015 season. Williams comes from a championship caliber program, Folsom High School (CA). Head Coach Kris Richardson describes the Georgia bred Williams as a Southern gentleman who likes to get nasty on game day. “He is extremely respectful. Adults love being around him. He knows how to communicate with adults. He is just a nice young man. He is humble and hard working. That is one of the things that we love to praise about Jonah is when your best player is a humble kid and one of the hardest working players I have ever been around, that’s a good thing.”
The highly sought after offensive lineman shunned the limelight during the recruiting process. Normally a player’s Twitter account documents the continuous flow of scholarship offers. Williams chose to post just once – his announcement to attend The University of Alabama on April 4th last year. “He doesn’t post on twitter how many offers he had,” said Richardson. “He just wants to show up tomorrow and get better than he was today. He is a grinder. He grinds in the weight room. He grinds on-the-field. He wears me out with questions in terms of what he can do to get better. He is a coach’s dream. Alabama has a great one coming to them.”
Jonah Williams came to Folsom High School in January 2014 with raw, physical ability. Primarily a defensive lineman, he possessed an attack mode mentality with limited experience on the offensive side of the ball. Williams was in a down blocking triple option system at his previous school in California. Caving one side of the line was the primary philosophy. Folsom has a diversified approach using zone, trapping and stretch blocking schemes to augment their prolific passing attack – spread, gun, no huddle, and no punt offense.
Williams’s idea of pass protection was ramming into the defender with intentions of knocking him down. Stepping back from the line, spreading the feet and using the hands to ward off the pass rusher was a completely new concept. Diligent attention to mastering the new techniques and relentless film study resulted in steady progress. Williams also benefitted from being surrounded by talented and experienced teammates as a junior. An offensive tackle accepted a scholarship from Arizona (Cody Creason) and the center went to Boise State (Sam Whitney).
Richardson reminded the star pupil domineering strength was sufficient to overwhelm high school opponents but proper fundamentals would determine success at the next level. “I gauged him on his technique, footwork, his base, first step and body posture. He appreciated me coaching him hard. He raised the level of the players around him with his work ethic.” Williams was cited frequently by Richardson to teammates as the example to follow. Coaching for 20-plus years, he had never seen a lineman as dominant. “The violence and ferociousness Jonah plays with at 6-5, 288 pounds is impressive,” stated Richardson. “His way of leading on the football team is to outwork everyone. He leaves Sacramento as the best lineman this city has ever seen.” Williams flipped flop from right to left tackle, played guard and even snapped the ball at Folsom.
L’Arche Mobile (http://www.larchemobile.org/) is a charitable Christian community, part of a worldwide federation, providing a permanent family-like environment for individuals born with intellectual disabilities. The group of 23 people with special needs is supported by 55 Team Members/Assistants involved in living and working in four homes and an activity center. L’Arche Mobile established in 1974, furnishes work opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. The word L’Arche in French means ‘the Ark’, a meaningful place for refuge.
Watch and listen to the video of Cristobal discussing the 2016 Alabama football team.