On Tuesday afternoon, while on an unofficial visit to Berkeley, Florence (Miss.) offensive lineman Byron Gentle Williams became the fifth offensive lineman – and the 20th 2016 prospect overall – to commit to California.
One of the first linemen to be offered after the hiring of Brandon Jones, Williams joins three-star offensive tackle commits Daniel Juarez and Jake Curhan, JuCo center commit A.J. McCollum and three-star guard Francisco Perez as part of the Bears’ offensive line haul this class.
Williams is also the second offensive line commit from the state of Mississippi in two cycles – the last being freshman Ryan Gibson -- and the third prospect out of the state of Mississippi to have been recruited by former Louisiana Tech offensive lineman and current Cal inside receivers coach Jacob Peeler, a Mississippi native.
Peeler was also instrumental in plucking cornerback Darius White -- who will be in the running to start this year at cornerback – from Itawamba Community College in Mississippi.
Though Williams plays left tackle for Florence, he projects as an offensive guard, and was named the Most Valuable Offensive Lineman in 4A District 6 last season, helping plow the way for an offense that rushed for 4,088 yards.
That number – 4,088 yards – is impressive, but it’s also a source of some concern, as Williams has played exclusively in a three-point stance for an offense that saw less than 20% of its offensive yardage come from the passing game (985 total passing yards).
That said, Williams shows a nasty streak firing off the ball, and even at a light weight, is very powerful. He has a knack for getting into the second level and making that extra block to spring his runners. He has the athleticism to play both sides of the ball, playing defensive tackle as well, and shows good explosion because of that athleticism.
Williams was being seriously looked at by Mississippi State, and had offers from Louisiana Tech, Memphis and Southern Alabama. He had received recent interest from Alabama, Louisville and Ole Miss.
The Bears still have several targets in the state of Mississippi, highlighted by four-star wide receiver A.J. Brown, and including Jordan Duncan and KaDerrion Mason.