ATHENS — Georgia cornerback Julio Humphrey made it clear that new defensive backs coach Donte Williams likes to be hands-on when instructing his players.

He’ll routinely have gloves and cleats on and isn’t afraid to show players how the drills are done.

And, as was the case at one practice earlier this spring, he’ll even put on a helmet.

“Yeah, I noticed that [Coach Donte Williams with a helmet on during practice] too,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “I don’t know if that’s legal. I hope it is, since he’s got a helmet on out there like an extra player. He may need it for safety, because some of those corners may be coming after him.”

Williams replaces Fran Brown, who is now the head coach at Syracuse. Williams spent the past four seasons at USC, working in a number of different roles within the secondary.

At Georgia, he’ll primarily work with the team’s cornerbacks. He’s one of two new defensive back coaches, as the Bulldogs brought in Travaris Robinson to coach the safeties.

“They both have great energy. They have great relationships with their players,” Smart said. “They’re really good recruiters but they’re also passionate and have a lot of energy on the field. Everything that we heard about them and the things we wanted them to come into our program for, they’re here for. I’m really proud of both those guys and how they’ve transitioned thus far.”

Williams had to put his recruiting chops on display early at Georgia, as Humphrey had publicly announced his plans to enter the transfer portal.

Keeping a talent like Humphrey would go a long way in setting up Williams’ room for success in year one. He already knew he was going to have to replace the NFL-bound Kamari Lassiter.

He simply couldn’t lose Humphrey too.

“I talked to Kirby and Muschamp and Coach Donte, and they were saying this is a big year for me, this could be my year to come out and have a good year,” Humphrey said. “I thought about it, and I wanted to be developed rather than just be down there for one year to say I’m close to my family. I stuck it out here because the development part is one of a kind compared to other schools.”

Williams has been regarded as one of the top recruiters when it comes to the defensive back position in recent years. He fits a similar mold to that of Brown, though Williams’ expertise is centered on California, as opposed to the Northeast with Brown.

Williams was hired prior to Georgia’s bowl practices, allowing him to be with the team during the 63-3 win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

His learning curve this spring isn’t as steep as Robinson’s this spring. Williams has been able to hit the ground running as he works with Humphrey, Daylen Everette, Daniel Harris, Ellis Robinson and Georgia’s other talented cornerback prospects.

“I’ve been knowing him since sophomore year of high school, since COVID first started,” Humphrey said. “Me and him have a tight relationship. He has us doing these ball drills every day at practice, and it’s been helping me better my ball skills. I like him a lot. Me and him relate a lot, so I like him a lot.”

Julio Humphrey shares inside story as to why Donte Williams wears a helmet