What Alex Williams' Commitment Means For Ohio State's 2018 Recruiting Class

By Andrew Lind on December 20, 2017 at 10:23 am
Alex Williams

Finding the right fit for your college football program isn't just about what happens on the field, but off it as well. Today, Ohio State added a key piece. How will that commitment impact the Buckeyes?

Ohio State landed a commitment from an underrated, late-blooming in-state prospect when Pickerington North three-star defensive end Alex Williams flipped his pledge from West Virginia this morning. 

Let's take a look at what Williams — the 26th-best player in the state and No. 590 prospect overall in the Class of 2018 — brings to Columbus.


With his 6-foot-7, 250-pound frame, some believe Williams would be best suited to play offensive tackle at the next level. His overall athleticism and aggressiveness say otherwise, though.

Williams didn't make a huge impact with the Panthers as an underclassmen, but reinvented himself and added nearly 35 pounds of muscle last summer. It showed, too, as he finished his senior season with 38 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks despite facing numerous double-teams. He was named honorable mention All-Ohio for his efforts.

Williams uses his length to disengage blockers, disrupt the quarterback's rhythm and knock down passes before they pass the line of scrimmage. He will surely make an immediate impact on special teams because of that.

Though still raw in terms of technique, he's very quick off the snap and does a good job recognizing plays as they develop. He also has a non-stop motor and plays through the whistle, which has led to a few late hits now and again.

Overall, Williams seems to be a perfect fit for an Ohio State defensive scheme that likes to rotate its linemen. If he shows a willingness to work on the small tthings, there's an opportunity for him to see the field early in his career.


Williams becomes the 22nd member of Ohio State's Supreme '18 recruiting class, but the only defensive end following five-star Brenton Cox's decommitment earlier this month.

With Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Holmes having exhausted their eligibility and Sam Hubbard likely off to the National Football League following the Cotton Bowl against USC, defensive end is without a doubt a position of great need. That would leave Nick Bosa, Jonathon Cooper and Chase Young as the only defensive ends on the Buckeyes' roster.

Ohio State planned to take at least three defensive ends this cycle, but it remains to be seen how they reach that number. The staff remains in pursuit of Cleveland Heights four-star defensive end Tyreke Smith and New Jersey four-star Jayson Oweh, who are both set to announce their college decisions during the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 4.

The Buckeyes are considered the favorite to land Smith's pledge following an in-home visit with head coach Urban Meyer Meyer, defensive line coach Johnson, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and running backs coach Tony Alford on Friday, while Oweh seems to be trending toward Penn State.


Meyer was vehemently against the Early Signing Period when it was first introduced and repeatedly said it was neither beneficial to the school nor the recruit.

“You make too many mistakes in recruiting [and] someone else is probably standing up here [at the podium],” Meyer said. “Kid makes a mistake, they just transfer. That's why they transfer. Bodies change and the game of football [does, too]. I want as much time [as possible]. I want to watch them play their senior year.”

It was assumed the accelerated recruiting calendar would favor small schools — or those not considered blue-blood programs — that show a commitment to an in-state prospect while the Buckeyes were off chasing elite out-of-state players. And Meyer, has been notorious for flipping those prospects late in the process, surely wouldn't see the same results.

Not so fast, my friends.

Even with two fewer months to evaluate, the Buckeyes were still able to flip Williams away from the Mountaineers. And as defensive tackle Robert Landers — who was also committed to West Virginia when Meyer came calling — said, “The one thing about Ohio State, it's hard to say no to them.”

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