Now, with Sunseri's new 3-4 defense, Williams finds himself in a new role — the JACK linebacker position or a hybrid defensive end.
"I am mostly working on the JACK position and a little bit at end," Williams told InsideTennesse. "I'm definitely a lot more comfortable that I was last year. I might have had about 4-5 days to learn the position and absorb as much as I could. This summer I have had a lot more time to study and during camp it has definitely slowed down a lot."
Williams, who weighed in at slim 245 pounds last fall, has bulked up considerably under the tutelage of Tennessee strength and conditioning coach Ron McKeefery to 260 pounds without losing a step.
"Last year I was maybe 245, 250 and I'm 260 now," Williams said. "I feel good, especially in the 3-4 defense, you have people pulling you and one-on-ones with tight ends.
"I was worried about losing some speed but I am about right where I was. I can handle blocks better and when pulls come last year I had to get low, this year I am hitting them."
The former three-star defensive end, according to FOX Sports NEXT, finished his freshman season with four tackles, a sack and one tackle for loss, but the Vols new defensive scheme could yield much bigger numbers for the Gainesville, Fla., native.
"We are way more aggressive," Williams said. "There are blitzes coming from everywhere. Last year we didn't have as many sacks, this year the goal is to get more sacks. Everybody loves sacks."
Vol coach Derek Dooley was quick to praise Williams in his new role when asked of Williams' performance through four practices of preseason summer camp.
"He is doing a really nice job," Dooley said. "He is going to be a really good football player. He is getting settled in and the more he learns and understands what to do the better he plays. I think he is settled in at that JACK position which is kind of like a defensive end-outside linebacker hybrid."
Countless hours of off-season film study of 3-4 NFL squads and college teams such like Alabama have been key for Williams and the entire defensive in grasping Sunseri's new scheme.
"All of the off the field stuff, film, etc. plays into it," said Williams. "I feel more comfortable. It has slowed down on the field more. Last year was more spastic, trying to figure out where you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to do, putting that extra time in definitely paid off."
Williams is listed as the No. 2 JACK linebacker behind junior Jacques Smith, who is slightly slimmer than Williams this fall at 244 pounds.
Defensive end finds new beginning
It's hard to realize how much you love something until it's gone.
A life of Southeastern Conference football hung in the balance for much of 2012 for Corey Miller. Grades forced Dooley to suspend the one-time four-star prospect before the spring semester.
At that point, it was all on the Welford, S.C., native to not only get his academics up to par but also to stay in shape so he could hit the ground running after he accomplished his classroom goals.
After spending some of his off time with a graphic design job at Neyland Stadium, Miller is back and a full-go with the Big Orange again. He's primed to earn a spot in the two deep after contributing in every one of the 25 games he's dressed for while in Knoxville.
"You've got to earn anything out here on this practice field, but the coaches have been treating me well," said Miller, who now sizes in at 6-3, 257. "They're great guys. I love the new coaching staff. I love these guys. So, I'm going to work hard for them."
Listening to Miller, it's evident he has a better appreciation for being a Div. I student-athlete. From the coaching to the camaraderie to simply playing football, he's proud to have his new lease on gridiron life.
Competition is tight at the defensive end position with Miller neck-and-neck with fellow Vols Steven Fowlkes, Daniel Hood, Trevarris Saulsberry, Darrington Sentimore and Marlon Walls.
"Wherever they need me at is where I'm going to fit in at. I just want to help the team in any way possible," said Miller, who has spent time at defensive tackle earlier in his career.
Listen in on what Miller said to reporters when asked if his skills are geared more toward a 3-4 defensive scheme, how difficult it is to learn new terminology and more in the video below: