Merry “Flipmas,” everyone! Tigers fans got a bit of a signing day surprise when former Wake Forest commit Sam Williams flipped his commitment to Mizzou. The 3-star defensive end from Hogansville, Georgia was Missouri’s 19th known commitment in the 2023 class, boosting the Tigers to 32nd in Rivals’ team rankings.
.@jarodchamilton asked #Mizzou's Eli Drinkwitz if there's any extra satisfaction when you flip a player from another school, especially from the school you're playing in a bowl in a few days, as MU did with DL Sam Williams— Nathalie Jones (@NathalieABC17) December 21, 2022
"I don't rub it in probably as much as I'd like to." pic.twitter.com/PHgybLZpXQ
Williams is part of the next wave of defensive linemen needed to replace the mass exodus of talent that left following the 2022 season. Tyrone Hopper, DJ Coleman, Isaiah McGuire, Trajan Jeffcoat, and Travion Ford are all expected to depart. The remaining defensive ends are... well, pretty much just Arden Walker and Johnny Walker, Jr. So, yeah, the position is in a bit of flux.
Where he fits: PLOT TWIST! I’m not sure Sam Williams’ future is at defensive end. I know, I know. But what about all of that stuff about how Missouri needs defensive ends and that’s why Williams is here and whatnot? Well, it’s all true, kinda. Missouri does need defensive ends. Williams might be able to help in that spot. But probably not.
Class of 2023 DL Sam Williams officially signed with Missouri, he told the Missourian. The former Wake Forest commit is joining the Tigers in the summer.— Kenny Van Doren (@thevandalorian) December 21, 2022
“It wasn’t really flipping. I made more of a business decision. Mizzou has a lot more to offer than Wake.”
He appears to be a player far more likely to follow Darius Robinson’s path. Robinson was listed as a 6-foot-5, 254 pound defensive end coming out of Canton High School in Michigan. Not all that dissimilar to Williams, listed at 6-foot-4, 265 pounds.
More importantly, though, is Williams’ playing style. He wins with power, not speed. He lines up on the inside nearly as often as he’s coming off the edge. His hands are powerful and he’s an absolute nightmare for high school offensive linemen to move in the running game. For all of these reasons, I think he’s likely to spend most of his time at defensive tackle with some potential “run down” snaps at defensive end.
When he’ll play: This answer would be far different if Williams were expected to line up at defensive end for the majority of his snaps. Defensive tackle is far deeper and far tougher to crack the 2-deep. In order to do so, he would have to jump at last four of Jayden Jernigan, Ky Montgomery, Josh Landry, Ian Mathews, Kristian Williams, Marquis Gracial, Jalen Marshall and Realus George. That’s just not feasible. Not right away.
So, it’ll likely be at least a couple years before we see much of Williams on the field. That’s okay. It’s for the best for his development. He should become well acquainted with the strength and conditioning program as he continues adding bulk to his frame.
What it all means: The Tigers added a piece with the potential to play inside or out (but mostly inside). Williams is hard to move and he has some serious power in his hands. He’s going to need some time to develop, but he’s a more than worthwhile take at this point in the process.
Merry Flipmas, everyone. Sam Williams is a welcomed addition to this defensive line group.