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Breakout Season Coming for James Williams



Courtesy of Twitter @BeGreat_20

As Miami safety James Williams heads into his junior season, all signs are pointing to a huge year for the elite athlete. Williams was a five-star prospect coming out of American Heritage in the class of 2021 and has flashed that potential at times. 

While Williams has shown the abilities that lead to him being the top ranked safety in the country as a recruit, health problems and questionable scheme fits have hampered his productivity. This season, all the pieces are falling into place for the 6’5-225lb ‘unicorn’ to have a breakout year and set himself up as a top prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The 2023 season has a ‘perfect storm’ kind of feel to it for James Williams who is in the best shape physically since arriving at Miami and is going to be used in a way to maximize his size, athleticism, and versatility. Williams played most of last season with a severe shoulder injury that required surgery immediately after the season. This injury played a major role in some of the tackling struggles that the Canes’ safety was heavily criticized for last season.

Williams spent the offseason rehabbing and getting in the best shape of his life for the 2023 season. With roughly 10lbs of muscle added and a fully healthy shoulder, the tackling issues and inability to wrap-up should be a thing of the past. The combination of size, speed and athleticism will be fully displayed as Williams can come downhill and play with a higher level of physicality.

In addition to being fully healthy, the unique defensive talent will be playing in a new system under Defensive Coordinator Lance Guidry that will allow him to fully showcase his skillset. Many have been calling for James Williams to see time in the box where he can use his speed and size to be even more disruptive. Heading into the 2023 season, those fans will get their wish as Williams has been seen practicing at multiple positions and will be used all over the field.

After the second fall practice, Williams spoke to the media and seems to have embraced his new assignment saying “I’ve accepted the role… I’m willing to make the team great and help us win.” Williams played a similar role when he was a top high school prospect and knows that NFL teams want to see him used in a variety of ways. Putting out impressive tape for NFL scouts will be a major key for the draft eligible junior. Solid film along with his impressive measurables would make James Williams a very attractive player in the early rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft.

This is arguably the most important season of Williams’ career thus far and he’s ready to take advantage of all things aligning for him. The junior safety is in the best shape of his career and has a coach in Lance Guidry who is known for letting versatile players thrive in different roles. Miami’s other starting safety, All-American Kam Kinchens, even said “I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s an All-American this year.” when asked about Williams at the ACC Media Days. The groundwork has been laid and the pieces are falling into place for James Williams to find himself as a possible first round pick at the conclusion of this season.



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