Vista Murrieta (Calif.) product Kyle 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 for an initial evaluation, when he played wide receiver, and came away pretty impressed for a number of reasons. Subsequent viewing of his senior film, in which he played both positions, reiterated our perspective.
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 (field side), or perhaps play the role D.J. Foster excelled at as the near 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, though a bit taller. 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 bal as a redshirt freshman.