Auburn, Ala.--Coming out of Eagles Landing Christian Academy as a four-star defensive end, the transition to college football for Auburn’s Andrew Williams wasn’t the easiest of things to do. Getting used to the speed of the game while also getting bigger and stronger, something that prompted a move inside to tackle, Williams has consistently improved under Coach Rodney Garner.
Last year as a redshirt sophomore he came into his own, making 13 tackles and finishing third on the team with three sacks. Playing at 6-4 and around 290 pounds, Williams said the next step for him is to keep adding good size and improve his craft as a player.
“I feel like my body can take 300,” Williams said. “That is, as long as I can keep moving with it. My redshirt year I jumped too much and felt slow, but I felt good this past year.
“Now I’m at the point where it’s just time to perfect my craft,” he added. “Last year (2015) was rough because I was a little undersized. This year I took that next step. Now it’s just step after step and the only way is up I feel like.”
Williams and the Tigers will begin spring practice on Feb. 28th.
The biggest step for Williams came during the 2016 season when he finally came into his own as an interior defensive linemen. Playing the role following a redshirt year meant very few snaps as a back-up, something that changed in 2016 when he became a big part of the second rotation for the Tigers behind guys like Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson.
“It has meant a lot,” Williams said of his chance to play in game situations. “I feel like I worked really hard taking after Mon. Seeing Mon and Carl, both of their work ethic, pushed me to really rise up and step my game up. I really appreciated those two.”
Now Williams steps into the role as one of the leaders of the defensive line along with fellow redshirt junior Dontavius Russell. The two most veteran guys for Garner, both will have a chance to take the group to another level beginning in spring practice and Williams said he can’t wait.
“I’m absolutely looking forward to it,” Williams said. “I see what they did and some things they could have done. I’m all about improving. I’m trying to be a student of the game. It’s real exciting for me and Don (Russell) and those boys. It’s really time to take over. It’s our team now.”