Redshirt freshman CB Buddy Williams will get his chance this year in the Tigers' secondary, as one cornerback position appears to be wide open headed into the start of fall practice. Can we expect to see this Florida native make a serious impact this year?
Williams came to Clemson in 2002 as an incoming freshman out of Tallahassee's Lincoln High School. He chose the Tigers over Miami and Georgia. He was an All-American by Prep Star and USA Today during his senior year. His team also won the state AAAAAA championship in both 1999 and 2001. Williams was one of the most dominating corners in his region, bringing in all-state, all-area, and All-Big Bend honors as both a junior and senior. He posted 136 tackles as a senior and eight interceptions, two of which he ran back for touchdowns during his last year at Lincoln High.
Buddy doesn't shy away from contact, as he can go up and the defend the pass with almost any receiver he matches up against. However, he still is a bit undersized weighing in right at 170 pounds entering fall practice. That could prevent him from getting the amount of playing time he deserves in 2003, but he still should see plenty of snaps as John Lovett tries to work him into the rotation in the defensive backfield.
"The Tiger fans can expect hard hitting and 150% effort. I believe in playing every play as if the game was on the line," Williams said entering his freshman season last year.
Williams got a good look last fall, but the Clemson coaching staff decided that it would be in his best interest to redshirt his freshman year. On the practice fields, Williams looks fast, but not as physically developed as a Justin Miller or a Jamaal Fudge.
With Justin Miller locking down one side of the field, the other side appears to be wide open entering the start of fall practice. Tye Hill and Toure Francis will likely battle it out for the other starting spot, with Francis having the edge if he comes back completely healthy. Williams is in the mix on the second team and we believe he'll see his share of snaps, starting with the season opener against Georgia. Nevertheless, it will be important for him to establish himself early during camp to help buid his confidence. He's a player; we saw that in high school- now he just needs to take his game to the next level.