Tre Williams has moved a couple miles from his home in Columbia to the dorms on Mizzou’s campus. The defensive end can’t help but rave about his short experience with the hometown school so far.
"It’s just how I thought it was going to be," Williams said. "It’s just like Heaven here. I get everything that I need, and I get to prove myself to the coaches to let them know that I really want to be here."
If the football field, the weight training program, and an extra plate of food is all that he needs, he’s taken full-advantage so far. After playing between 220-230 pounds at Rock Bridge last fall, Williams is now over 250. The bigger stature has helped his game too, as he’s reportedly been really impressing throughout summer workouts and into fall camp.
Williams’ progression couldn’t have come at more pressing time. Last year’s freshman All-American Walter Brady was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules, leaving a void on the defensive line. But Jackie Shipp might be the new coach, but #DLineZou still exists, and the cupboard is far from bare.
Charles Harris is going to be the man, no question. Marcell Frazier split time with Brady last fall at the opposing defensive end spot, and it sounds like he’s been impressing as well. Nate Howard had a good freshman campaign, and we just found out Josh Moore moved from tackle to end while slimming down. Spencer Williams could get the job done as a reserve.
So why the need to see Tre Williams so early? Well, if he’s better than any of the pass rushers listed above, then yes he should play. Plus, his ceiling just might be higher than all of them except for probably Harris.
Much like Harris, Williams was a standout in basketball, and you can see the raw tools he has to go along with his developing frame.
Pete Scantlebury of PowerMizzou saw Williams at a camp last summer, and found his frame similar to a former standout at Mizzou.
And I know it's trite to make the comparison, but Rock Bridge DE Tre Williams really has the same frame as Aldon Smith. Looked great today.— Pete Scantlebury (@PeteScantlebury) June 5, 2015
He’s not the only one to make the comparison, Junior defensive tackle AJ Logan, also from Rock Bridge, was asked about him yesterday.
"Kid’s built like Aldon Smith. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying he’s going to play like him or anything yet, but he has the physical tools to do that."
Aldon Smith was really good at Mizzou, and it’s just unfair to expect an incoming freshman to live up to an eventual top-10 draft status. But Shipp can see his abilities as an 18 year-old who a year ago was getting ready to play high school football against teams in mid-Missouri.
"He runs well, plays extremely hard. I think he’s a very intelligent football player," Shipp said on National Signing Day. "I think his potential is unlimited, and by him putting in a lot of great, hard work, I think he can be a very special player."
There could be a more recent comparison to the situation Williams is in. In 2013, Shane Ray backed up Kony Ealy. Ray was a budding star, but not quite ready to take the reigns from a more experienced player in Ealy. Ray was a little bit older than Williams is now, but there are parallels between the two.
Frazier should be the starter and should get the majority of the reps as long as he keeps progressing. But if Williams is ready to play and better than Spencer Williams now, why wait and redshirt him?
The Tre Williams show is coming, and fans should get to see a sneak preview of the next man up for #DLineZou in 2016.