September 4, 2009

Countdown to kickoff: No.3 - Aaron Williams

Name: Aaron Williams

Position: Cornerback

Classification: Sophomore

Prep credentials: The former Round Rock McNeil star was a four-star prospect (6.0) who was ranked as the nation's No.1 safety and the No.36 overall prospect in the nation by Rivals. Williams was ranked as the No.1 overall prospect in the state by Lone Star Recruiting and ranked No.4 by Rivals.

Click here to see Williams' high school film

2008 stats: Williams played in all 13 games (one start) for the Longhorns, recording 16 tackles, three pass break-ups, a tackle for loss, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble, four blocked punts (T-No. 1 on UT's single season list) and an 81-yard interception return for a touchdown. Williams was tied for the lead on special teams with nine tackles.

2008 Honors: None.

Click here to see Williams' 2008 highlight film

Best game in 2008: It would be easy to go with the Arkansas game because his 81-yard interception return for a touchdown was the seventh longest return in 100+ years of football on the 40 Acres, but when Williams was pressed into service against Texas Tech in one of the most important games pf the season, he responded with a terrific overall performance. Although it was lost in the aftermath of the season's only loss, Williams racked up three tackles, a tackle for loss, two pass break-ups and a fumble recovery in a game that really did serve as a coming out party for the future star.

Scouting Report: When you take a look at the 6-1, 189-pound Williams, you're looking at perhaps the best young cornerback that the Longhorns have ever recruited, which is obviously saying quite a bit. Not even the likes of Quentin Jammer, Cedric Griffin or Aaron Ross developed at the kind of accelerated rate that Williams has displayed in just over one season.

A number of things separate Williams from 95% of the college cornerbacks in the nation, but the biggest has to be his elite combination of size, strength and athleticism. Williams is at his best when he's lined up in bump-and-run coverage because he has the strength to end a receiver's route at the line of scrimmage before it ever truly gets started. Of course, its one thing to be able to jam a guy up at the line of scrimmage and it's another to lose him and let him run right past you down the field for a score. Williams will not only get right into the chest of a receiver, but he'll stay in his hip pocket after the bump from beginning to end. His combination of size and athleticism simply allows him to do and get away with things that most mortal cornerbacks simply can't.

Overall, there's not much to dislike. He's a physical player in run support. On top of the prototypical NFL size, he turns his hips and shadows receiver without much effort. He has elite-level ball skills and he's also one of the nation's best special teams players. The only thing holding him back from emerging as a star in the Texas secondary is a little bit of experience.

The big hope… Williams becomes a playmaker and a shutdown corner in the secondary, earning All-Big 12 honors and possible All-America honors.

The big worry… He's still too young? It's hard to think of a real worry.

Did you know? Williams is the only four-star rated player by Rivals.com that has ever been rated as the No.1 player in the final Lone Star Recruiting rankings.

NFL Scouting report: "It's only a matter of time. The thing that really jumped out to me on the film from last season is that when he's on the field he makes big plays. He could have been glass-eyed and spooked and nobody would have blamed him, but he constantly showed up as one of the best athletes and players on the field when he played. He faced a lot of pressure situations last season and the defensive coaches think he held up better than anyone. If you believe the Texas coaches, it's only a matter of time before he's one of their best players. He already is. "

The bottom line: Williams might be a second-year player, but he's not your average sophomore. He's been one of the team's best players in the spring, summer and in August's training camp. There's no reason to think it's all a mirage. His star is about to take off.

No.4 - Alex Okafor
No.5 - Brandon Collins
No.6 - Russell Carter
No.7 - Fozzy Whittaker
No.8 - Justin Tucker
No.9 - Lamarr Houston
No.10 - Dan Buckner
No.11 - Eddie Jones
No.12 - Tre Newton
No.13 - Emmanuel Acho
No.14 - John Chiles
No.15 - Kheeston Randall
No.16 - David Snow
No.17 - Curtis Brown
No.18 - Malcolm Williams
No.19 - Keenan Robinson
No.20 - Vondrell McGee
No.21 - Blake Gideon
No.22 - Adam Ulatoski
No.23 - Ben Alexander
No.24 - James Kirkendoll
No.25 - Jared Norton

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