The 6-foot-5 Williams, from nearby Rock Bridge High School, said he arrived at Mizzou weighing 235 pounds and now is up to 255.
“I see myself every day,” Williams said. “I didn’t notice myself getting that big until we did the before and after pictures and I was like, dang, I actually did get bigger. I feel like I’m faster and more physical just cause I’m bigger.”
Williams has more versatility in his game now, he said, by being able to bull rush offensive tackles or work inside against them rather than just using his speed to try to beat them to the edge.
And now that he’s bigger and stronger he feels like he has what it takes to see the field as a true freshman this fall, though he realizes he has work to do.
“My expectation is to play,” Williams said. “I think I can help us win. I think my body has matured enough to take on the physicality of this game. So I think that I can play now but it’s just the fact that I’m starting from the bottom and working my way up. There’s not that many days till our first game, so I have to start fast.”
Tigers defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross said last week they would get Williams in the mix at defensive end, competing with guys like Marcell Frazier, Spencer Williams, Nate Howard and Jordan Harold for playing time at at that spot after losing Walter Brady.
The dismissal of Brady was a big loss for Missouri, Williams said, but he also acknowledged that it provides more opportunities for him and the other players competing at that spot.
“I think it’s a big opportunity for me,” he said.
Now it’s a matter of Williams proving himself and showing that he’s capable of contributing right away as a freshman.
“I know what we’re supposed to do. Right now I’m still starting from the bottom. Coming up, I just have to keep proving myself and keep working hard every day.”
Williams has already shown that he has potential.
Frazier, the leading candidate to start at defensive end opposite Charles Harris, acknowledged that on Monday when asked about the youngster.
“He has all the intangibles — size, speed, length,” Frazier said of Williams. “In a couple years he’ll be in the league probably.”
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