One of the reasons why was the play of talented 2015 linebacker Darrell Williams. A rare starter as a sophomore for one of the country's top high school programs last year, Williams is now one of the leaders on defense for the Bucs along with five-star prospect Marlon Humphrey and fellow junior Christian Bell.
A four-star for the 2015 class according to Scout.com, Williams says that getting the win over an Opelika team they defeated in the Class 6A title game last season was just another step for the program and it starts with defense.
"We did a good job," the 6-2 1/2, 212 Williams says. "The win is always great. We didn't play our best defense because it was a little confusing at times. They threw some stuff at us that we had a hard time adjusting to. We did what we had to do to win.
"After a while it just becomes a part of life," he adds of winning. "You don't take anything less than winning the game. That's just what we want to do. We don't look forward to losing. People say you have to lose sometime, no not at Hoover. We don't have to lose. We keep it going."
Hoover junior linebacker Darrell Williams
A physical defender that makes plays in the backfield with his combination of size and speed, Williams has found a new role in Hoover's defense this season and it's one that should pay dividends for him on the next level.
Lining up at outside linebacker, he is being asked to play man coverage on slot receivers in some of the Bucs' defensive sets. Looking very comfortable in that role and still getting used to playing in space, he notes that it's something he's enjoying as they do it more and more.
"We have been getting a lot of reps in practice and the coaches have been playing it a lot," Williams says. "We have been playing man coverage with me on receivers. It's nothing new. I think I can do it. I think it helps me moving forward because linebacker is not much of a coverage position. I think it's a plus and college coaches will like that when looking at me. I think I'll need to get better, but I'm doing pretty good right now."
Currently with offers from Southern Miss, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Florida State and Cincinnati, Williams is off to a strong start with still a full year left to play on the high school level. Also hearing from several schools including the Auburn Tigers, Williams says he really likes what Gus Malzahn has done with the program already in just his first season.
"They are definitely showing me a lot of love," Williams says. "I feel like they are going to offer soon. I hope it's real soon. The coaches down there are really talking to me and recruiting me. I hope they keep showing me that love.
"Coach Gus Malzahn is a great coach," he adds. "He's just leading them on. Auburn looks like a great team to play for right now. They are playing great football. They just have to keep growing and if they keep working they'll get to where they want to get."
And if that Auburn offer does come in the future? Williams says it would be a special one for him if and when he hears from the Tigers.
"It would mean a lot," Williams says. "Auburn is a good school from watching them right now. Their defense is turning up a lot. I just want to go to a good school that is used to winning. Coach Malzahn is used to winning. I just want to stick to what we do here at Hoover and take it on to college."