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True freshman DE Mykel Williams sets up for a pass rush against true freshman OT Earnest Greene III at G-Day this past April. These two have the brighest of futures in Athens. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

ESPN tabs ‘exceptional’ Mykel Williams to Preseason True Freshman All-American team

Georgia brought in the No. 3 ranked recruiting class for the 2022 cycle. The haul included 11 top-100 prospects, with several of those players already making an impact such as safety Malaki Starks or tight end Oscar Delp.

Yet ESPN went in a different direction when filling out its True Freshman All-American team. The duo of Tom Luginbill and Tom VanHaaren both had Mykel Williams as Georgia’s lone representative on the team.

“Somebody has to play with all their departures, right? Why not choose the most versatile of the group in Williams,” Luginbill wrote. “As an edge, three technique or second-level rusher, Williams can play everywhere. In one-on-one situations, he is a pass rush nightmare for offensive tackles.”

Williams was Georgia’s top-rated signee in the 2022 cycle, as he finished as the No. 4 overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings. He also went through spring practice with the Bulldogs as an early enrollee, helping adjust to the college game.

Georgia has employed Williams as a defensive end, the same position previously held by Travon Walker. Like Williams, he was a 5-star prospect who found a way to make an impact as a true freshman. Walker was taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Williams has been competing alongside Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins and Tramel Walthour for reps on the defensive line to this point.

Georgia coaches have consistently praised Williams for his work ethic, as he has often gone the extra mile to work on the little things in his early days in Athens.

“Mykel is a Georgia kid that loves Georgia,” Georgia running backs coach Dell McGee said of Williams. “I think he’s going to do things in an exceptional manner, which he has already. You can see the extra work and the attention to detail that he has as a young player.

“So, we’re getting a very, very hard worker. Kind of unmatched from a hard work standpoint. That’s what you want out of a young player so they can influence their class as well as older guys, like, ‘Look at what Mykel is doing.’”

With so many departures from last season’s team, Georgia will look for a number of freshmen to make an impact this season. Wide receiver Dillon Bell, Starks, Delp, running backs Branson Robinson and Andrew Paul, inside linebacker Jalon Walker and safety JaCorey Thomas are all players who have impressed coaches at one point or another during camp so far.

Related: Kirby Smart challenges Dillon Bell to emerge as next productive Georgia football freshman receiver

The Bulldogs have their second scrimmage of the fall on Saturday, which will mark a shift from camp-style practices to beginning to prep for the first game. Georgia opens the 2022 season in Atlanta against the Oregon Ducks. The game is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff on ABC.

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