Chris Williams and the sophomore '80'

Normally when freshmen come to college, people warn them about the infamous "freshman 15" meaning the normal amount of weight first year students add to themselves through increased drinking habits and worse eating habits.

For Vanderbilt redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Chris Williams it's been more like the freshman and sophomore 80. That's how much weight the now 320 pound Williams has put on since he entered Vanderbilt out of Catholic Highschool in Glynn, Louisiana. With the departure of former left tackle Justin Geisinger, Williams now finds himself trying to use his newfound girth to his advantage as he battles with Ryan King for Geisinger's position.

"He showed up at 240 and now he's at 320, but he's kept his quickness" said former offensive lineman and graduate assistant Jordan Pettit. "I believe it's going to pay off for him, but it all comes down to how you play on the field."

While assisting the coaching staff during the 2003 season, Pettit used to work with Williams for 15-20 minutes after practice, helping the young lineman with his set and overall approach to the game. Pettit even thought so highly of Williams that he suggested that Williams take Pettit's old No.74 (Williams started out wearing No. 67)

The following year, Williams was declared academically ineligible, but this gave him a chance to watch and learn from one of the best offensive lineman in the SEC.

"I learned a lot from Justin (Geisinger)," Williams (right, photo by Katy Hamlett) said. "I still watch tape on him to see how he played. He's a good guy to watch."

The extra year off also helped Williams in terms of increasing his strength to prepare himself for the rigors of college football. He came into Vandy maxing out on bench at 300 pounds. Now, Williams has increased his benching maximum to 400 pounds.

"He has the great combination of size and mobility," said Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson, "We knew that when we signed him, you always think you can add weight but you're not sure it can happen, but he's handled it well. I think he has an excellent chance to be a fantastic offensive lineman."

Another attribute that sets Williams apart from others is how he knows the game. When he came in as a freshman he "picked up the offense almost abnormally," according to Pettit. "He knows a lot about the game of football outside of being an offensive lineman." For example, it would be like a wide receiver knowing exactly what linemen were supposed to do. Williams is apparently that far ahead of the pack in terms of knowing the game.

Still despite all the hubbub about Williams in spring practice, he still has never played a snap in a Saturday regular season game and Ryan King could very well still very well beat out Williams for the offensive line position. But if the word on the street is right sooner or later No.74 could be flattening defensive linemen.

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