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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
4-star DT Mykel Williams has moved up his decision time frame considerably.

Mykel Williams: Top junior D-line prospect in Georgia hits the gas pedal on his decision

Mykel Williams slots in as the highest-ranking defensive lineman (247Sports Composite) in the state of Georgia for the 2022 cycle.

The 265-pound junior has been the No. 2 most wanted 2022 prospect for DawgNation each week of the year on the “Before the Hedges” weekly program assessing the vital targets for the Bulldogs in the next cycle.

When discussing his commitment timelines late in his junior year, Williams wanted to name a top 10 on January 1, 2021. He did that. Williams also aimed to name a top 2 or top 3 on June 29. That is his birthday.

The finish line was set to be on August 23, 2021. “That is my baby sister’s birthday,” he said back in late October. “She is going to be two.”

Williams recently opted to bodyslam all that advance planning. He’s now going to make his college commitment on March 15. He still will keep it as a tribute date for a member of the family.

“March 15th is my Dad’s birthday,” Williams said.

The honor this time will go to his father John Johnson.

“Well, initially he was going to release his top 5 on my birthday so it was because he scrapped his whole timeline,” his father John Johnson said.

He’s just fatigued by the whole recruiting process itself at this time. Even during a pandemic when on-campus visits have not been possible since early March of 2000.

What led to moving everything up with a commitment and not just a top 5 drop to honor his father?

“Really just because I feel like getting the process over,” Mykel Williams said.

Johnson felt the same way.

“Virtual recruiting is not the same as actually visiting schools,” his father said. “Family definitely plays part in decision making. But I told him virtual committing doesn’t stop the big boys from trying to flip you. Early signing is a long way off.”

Check out the DawgNation conversation with Williams during his junior season.

Mykel Williams: The moving parts to pay attention to here

Williams ranks as the nation’s No. 4 DT and No. 41 overall recruit in the 2022 cycle. It goes without saying that he has likely 5-star potential when further rankings for the 2022 class start to pick up steam.

He looks due for a jump of somewhere around 15 to 20 spots given his frame, ability and production from his junior season.

The 6-foot-5 Hardaway star had 69 tackles, 19 tackles for losses, 17 sacks, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 2020. He was also the clear MVP of the Junior vs. Senior Georgia Elite Classic Game in mid-December.

There’s a lot to like here about his athleticism. Williams was a monster on the d-line for the juniors in the Elite Classic, but he also played both sides of the ball. It was the same thing he did moonlighting as an offensive tackle for Hardaway this fall, too.

South Carolina’s previous staff actually had evaluated him as a future offensive tackle because of his frame, the way he could bend and his agile footwork.

Johnson said he has spoken to all of the schools in his son’s impressive top 10 group. They are all trying to build a relationship.

“I don’t have a clear favorite,” Johnson said. “The only thing I tell Mykel is to consider travel when it concerns grandparents and other family members. They will want to come to see him play.”

Georgia is recruiting Williams to be a “5” technique across the defensive line.

Here are a few things to keep in mind here:

  • Williams grew up a fan of his Clemson. His mother has long considered herself to be a fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide. 
  • Georgia was able to catch his eye back during the 2019 season. It was with a novelty known as a college gameday visit. The atmosphere at Sanford Stadium has stuck with him after he was in the stands for the Murray State and Texas A&M games in 2019. 
  • His quote there: “The atmosphere when you are there’s crazy,” he said. “That’s what drives me to it.”
  • It really got Georgia into the game as far as his recruiting process.
  • “I really didn’t like Georgia at all until I went to my first game,” Williams said. “It was like Murray State and that atmosphere was electric.”

He knows if visits had been lifted this fall, he would have been at the Alabama-Georgia game in Tuscaloosa. That was a game he would have been at. He said back in October if had the chance to visit schools again, he feels the schools he would visit first are Alabama and Georgia.

Georgia ace recruiter Dell McGee has deep ties in the Columbus area based on his high school coaching background as the one-time head coach at Carver-Columbus. He has a group chat going with Williams and his family. “He says I’m a big priority for them in 2022,” Williams said. “He says he can’t let me leave the state.”

The name of that group text thread, which does include other Georgia coaches, is interesting here. “It says from Columbus GA to Athens GA,” Williams said.

Georgia 2022 DT commitment Tyre West is another top 50 overall recruit from the state in Tifton. He has been working on him about becoming a ‘Dawg, too. Those two, along with Cedar Grove junior DT Christen Miller, have long talked about playing with one another in college.

What is Williams really looking for?

“Success,” he said. “I want to be able to go in there and play early. Not necessarily play all the time early but get on the field. Do you know what I mean? Be successful. I’m actually looking for a coach that is going to develop me and actually prepare me for the next level which is the NFL.”

Mykel Williams-Georgia recruiting-UGA recruiting
Mykel Williams will very likely be a 5-star recruit in the 2022 class upon further evaluation by the summer of 2021, if not sooner. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Mykel Williams evaluation: Hardaway’s Michael Woolridge

His head coach, Michael Woolridge, will echo that sentiment.

“This kid is a 3.3 student with a 3.3 grade-point average and not only that he’s always calling us on the weekends,” Woolridge said. “When we have a day off, he’s trying to do a pass rush drill or go to Atlanta to work with a pass-rushing specialist who played in the NFL to try and get better. Normally, that doesn’t go hand-in-hand. Your best player is normally not your hardest worker because they can get by off their athletic ability.”

“But he wants to be great. He wants to be the best. That’s what I love the most about ‘Kell is he is always looking for a way to get better.”

What drives that? There’s that deep sense of accountability for his family to begin with.

“I think what drives him every day is he has a lot of hype around him with all of those rakings and those big offers,” Woolridge said. “But he wants to live up to those Power 5 offers. That’s what I see out of him every day. He is always about improving… Most kids settle once they get all those big Power 5 offers. They are like ‘Ok, I’ve got my offers’ but not Mykel. He keeps working. He’s got all these schools wanting him. He’s got LSU, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Clemson. This guy just wants to keep working to get better to prove he’s worthy of all of this attention he gets. That’s the most amazing part about him.”

Williams has gone one-on-one with a defensive back at practice working at tight end and make a one-handed catch on a vertical route in drills.

“He was maybe 40 inches off the ground,” Woolridge said. “I’ve seen him beat several blocks and then cause a strip fumble on the quarterback and then recover the fumble and run with it. I’ve seen the same kid do both of those things before. With him on defense there, you are talking about three major impressive things and he did them all together back-to-back-to-back on one play to make an even bigger play. Beat a double team, cause a fumble, then pick it up and run with it for a score in a game last year.”

His junior tape is embedded below.

SENTELL’S INTEL

(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)

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