Williams evaluation; ASU WR analysis

What's Arizona State getting in Kyle Williams, its latest commit out of Vista Murietta and an athlete with impressive quickness.

Wide Receiver

Ideal scholarship roster number: 10-11

Potential returning number (in 2016): 8 (Cameron Smith, Frederick Gammage, Tim White, Eric Lauderdale, Ellis Jefferson, Tyler Whiley, Jalen Harvey, Terrell Chatman)

Likely returning number: 7-8

2016 Commitments: 2 (Jeremy Smith, Kyle Williams)

Remaining ideal number: 1

The Skinny: Williams is a bit of a difficult evaluation because he was forced to move to quarterback from wide receiver in the first game of his junior season after the starter went down with an injury. As a result, we watched a lot of his sophomore film, when he played wide receiver, and came away pretty impressed for a number of reasons.

Athletically, the best attributes for Williams are also some of the best any football skill athlete can possess, and that's great quickness and hip flexion. Williams has both of these things in spades. Most impressive is how loose-hipped he is and how that enables him to be extremely elusive in space when combined with how well he turns his feet over.

Williams doesn't have great top end speed but his quickness is great and that's probably more important, especially at the college level. His ability to get up to speed from idle is terrific with steps 3-5 remarkably explosive. This is a guy who probably runs a 4.45 40-yard dash but has blistering 10 and 20 yard splits, and is a sub-4-second short shuttle runner, which is elite.

The reason we're projecting Williams to receiver and not cornerback is because of his route running potential and how well he locates and makes adjustment plays on the football. At least on film, he's not a quick athlete who gets open in space and has a difficult time tracking the football and securing it. That's a very key aspect with players like this. A lot of guys who are really quick also have a lot of eye jog and don't have the body composure or hands to receive the football cleanly. That doesn't appear to be the case with Williams>.

What makes Williams a good addition for the Sun Devils is that he easily could play cornerback in college given how limber he is with his movements on the field, and his ability to change directions at speed. The same thing that makes him elusive in space with the ball in his hands, or with the ability to get open working laterally off the line of scrimmage, is what helps his potential as a cornerback. That versatility is something that gives a recruit more of a chance at success projecting into college, and especially at a program like ASU, which has no problem moving players around from one position to another, even offense to defense.

Williams is average-sized for a wide receiver, at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds. As a cornerback he certainly wouldn't be undersized. The physical adjustment will require a lot more work on adding strength and size moving forward, and that should only help to maximize Williams' athleticism, but he's clearly a Pac-12 athlete, and Arizona, Cal, Colorado and Washington State all reportedly offered a scholarship.

Projecting to ASU, Williams would be a 2-receiver prospect on offense, or perhaps play the role De'Chavon Hayes fills -- as D.J. Foster did at one point -- as the slot receiver in two-back formations. At the 2-receiver position, D.J. Foster departs after this season and Tim White and Frederick Gammage will be seniors in 2016, so there's going to be roster turnover at the positions he projects to play. Hayes is also going to be a senior in 2016. It would seem that Williams is a player who could come in, redshirt behind a couple seniors, and then have a chance to impact the depth chart in a big way in the 2017 season.

In a bit of an odd twist, Williams is a similar type of athlete as former ASU receiver and NFL player with the same name, Kyle Williams. Of course, that's a very common name, but it's an interesting tidbit nonetheless. Another is that Williams plays at Vista Murietta in Murietta, California, the same school that current Sun Devil Coltin Gerhart played quarterback at as a senior in 2013. Neither player will wind up at quarterback for ASU, as Gerhart switched to the defensive side of the ball earlier this year as a redshirt freshman.

ASU has two receivers in the 2016 class now assuming that's where Williams sticks, as he joins Jeremy Smith. Another interesting tidbit is that Smith too plays quarterback for his high school team but projects to wide receiver.

The Sun Devils will probably still take at least one more wideout in the class in order to make sure they get to and sustain at their target of 10 or 11 players at the position group going into 2016, after the departure of Foster and fellow seniors Devin Lucien and Gary Chambers.

Below is a look at Williams' sophomore highlights at wide receiver. You can also navigate from there to watch his junior highlights as a quarterback.


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