For the first time since Jordan Hancock joined the fray in mid-July, Ohio State landed a #BOOM in its 2021 class with Thursday's commitment of four-star defensive tackle Tyleik Williams.
Williams is a top-160 overall player, the No. 10 defensive tackle and No. 4 overall player in the state of Virginia.
Let's take a look at what Williams brings to the Buckeyes on the field and in the recruiting class:
On the field
National analyst Brian Dohn at 247Sports has been one of the lead analysts covering Williams' recruitment at the network, and after watching his film in the winter, Dohn liked what he saw. He compared Williams to Cleveland native and former Michigan defensive tackle Willie Henry, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL draft:
Excellent frame with lean build. Long and athletic in space. Can easily add 30 pounds. Explodes at snap. Covers ground quickly in first three steps. Impressive body control for size. Runs well and can re-direct down line of scrimmage. Disengages quickly and locates ball carrier well. Good tackler. Has to play with lower pad level. Adding strength in the lower and upper body integral to play inside. Possesses good technique but must refine moves. Continued development with hand usage important. Multi-year starter at Top 20 program. Day 3 NFL draft potential.
Watching him on game film and clips from practices and showcases, it's clear to see that Williams already moves very well for his size, with a quick get-off from the line of scrimmage. He has some maneuverability around offensive linemen, though it appears improving his pad level and his bend could use some refinement.
But 6-foot-3, 330-pound defensive tackles – especially ones who move well – are very hard to come by in recruiting. Typically they have to wait until they're in college strength programs to see that sort of size added to them, so Williams will come into the program already built with a defensive tackle's body.
63 330 pic.twitter.com/6sL9lgxUQj— Tyleik T5 William (@tyleikk) August 25, 2020
He will be a run-stopping presence for the Buckeyes with the ability to plug the A and B gaps as either a 1-technique nose tackle or 3-technique defensive tackle, but the most likely destination is at nose tackle, meaning they have now brought in a top talent to fill a big need in this cycle.
He will need to improve his pass-rushing ability over his first couple years in the program, but he should prove to be a standout in the run game.
Off the field
Williams isn't much of a talker, and he's not a major presence on social media, either. His head coach, Carroll Walker, spoke with Cleveland.com's Cameron Fields in July, though, detailing some of the aspects that likes about Williams. That includes his attitude despite the Virginia High School League's decision to cancel its fall football season.
“He knows what he’s going to fit in, what his role is going to be whatever school he goes to,” Walker said. “I’m not concerned too much about him missing his senior year because I think he’s well-prepared to go to the next level anyway. We all would love to have his last year under his belt, but what can we do, you know? You can’t replace life with the virus going on. I think it’s a bad deal overall.”
Walker also said that he believes Williams is an explosive player on the interior of the line with the potential to one day find himself as an NFL draft pick. And now that he's teamed up with Larry Johnson, the odds of him becoming a pro have increased even further.
“As far as being in the right place, Tyleik’s going to have to definitely be with a defensive coach that knows it, old school and gets the best out of him,” Walker told Cleveland.com.
In the class
Not only are the Buckeyes getting a player with immense potential and one who fills a major need at defensive tackle, they are also nabbing a win over Alabama on the recruiting trail at the perfect time.
Ohio State entered this summer with what seemed like an insurmountable lead for the program's first-ever recruiting crown, but that lead has been nearly completely erased over the past two months with the scorching-hot Tide gaining ground.
|2020||MOOSE MUHAMMAD III||WR||TEXAS A&M|
|2015||DARRIN KIRKLAND JR.||ILB||TENNESSEE|
|2013||WYATT TELLER||SDE||VIRGINIA TECH|
|2012||JUSTIN SHANKS||DT||FLORIDA STATE|
|2011||DEE ARRINGTON||S||MISSISSIPPI STATE|
If Williams had chosen Alabama, Nick Saban's crew would have overtaken the Buckeyes for the No. 1 class in the country. But with Williams choosing Ohio State, it gives Ryan Day's group a total of 302.48 points, just ahead of Alabama's 296.72 points.
This looks like it could be a back-and-forth, neck-and-neck battle between the two powerhouses the rest of the way for that top spot. Doesn't get much better than that in the recruiting world.
As for how Williams impacts Ohio State's defensive line, how he will fit in with that unit and next steps for recruiting the position, we will hit on that in tonight's Hurry-Up.