If you like hard-hitting, physical safeties then you have to like what you see on film and in-person in regards to Deontai Williams. The 6-foot-1 and 180-pound defensive back is a very aggressive tackler who plays with reckless abandon. On most of his highlight film Williams plays close to the line of scrimmage as a walked-up safety and has proven himself to be a very solid in run-support. He is a sure-tackler who is also not timid about taking on blocks from lineman when playing down in the box as what most would consider to be an extra linebacker. Williams is a long, athletic and runs very well. He has good closing speed and does a good job of reading the quarterback in zone coverage. He also shows the ability to cover plenty of ground when playing in the Cover-2 scheme. The athletic defender also looks to have the ability to line up and run with slot receivers in man-to-man coverage and at times played cornerback against outside receivers. Williams plays with great effort and is just has dominant a hitter and productive on special teams as he is when he lines up at defensive back. He competes and plays hard and fast.
Questions and Areas for Improvement
Like any high school prospect, despite his athleticism and football ability, Williams will only continue to get better as he becomes more disciplined and fundamentally sound. This is to be expected when you take into account he is still so young. At times, the junior has a tendency to tackle from the outside-in even when he doesn't have contain responsibility. He also has room to improve his coverage skills especially in regards to his footwork in press man-to-man coverage. He will also need to learn to do a better job of wrapping-up when he is making tackles. With the new rules at the college level he will certainly have to adjust his tackling style once he arrives on-campus as he has a tendency to lead with his helmet. Williams will also need to continue to get bigger and stronger if he is to be utilized as an in-the-box safety where he will be taking bigger and stronger players at the SEC level. You would like to see how he performs when lined up as single deep-safety but there isn't enough film to be able to offer an opinion on that one way or the other.
Williams is an outstanding major college safety prospect in my opinion. He already possesses the things you can‘t coach; size, speed, physicality and a passion for the game. Like most of the prospects from his high school Williams plays with great intensity and his love of the game even shows up on highlight film. With added experience and continued improvement in the technical aspects of his game, Williams has a chance to be one of the more highly ranked safeties in the 2015 recruiting class. The fact that he jumps out at you when you watch him play says a lot about his ability as a football player given the fact the he plays with at least a dozen teammates who are outstanding prospects in their own right.