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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
Mykel Williams should be seen as a priority target for Georgia in the 2022 recruiting class. He's the No. 2 recruit on the DawgNation "Before the Hedges" top targets list for 2022.

Mykel Williams: Priority DL zooms in on a small group of schools with a decision set for March 15

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry details where elite D-line target Mykel Williams a month in advance of his commitment date. 

Mykel Williams does not know where he will play college football yet. He’s beginning to get an inkling, though.

He told DawgNation this weekend he’s mostly down to a small core group of schools less than a month prior to the commitment he will make on March 15.

Williams chose that day to honor his father, John Johnson, on his birthday. It is a tribute to Johnson, but it was also a vast acceleration of his timeline. The nation’s No. 4 DT and No. 41 overall prospect (247Sports Composite) is just ready to make a decision having grown a little fatigued of virtual recruiting.

It was supposed to be a top 5, but it will be a commitment. With less than 30 days to go before his decision, it sounds like there are only at the most five schools in it pointing to March 15.

“Southern Cal, Georgia, LSU and Kentucky,” he said while rattling off which programs are really in it.

He’s got a pair of wild cards in there and a pair of SEC heavyweights in there. He also later added that the Florida Gators in there as a quality fifth option.

Williams lost a game in a video game recently to a member of the Southern Cal staff. That “L” had consequences.

“I lost a bet,” Williams said. “I lost in a Madden game. So I had to tweet that.”

Nonetheless, he has long held a good feeling about playing for the Trojans out in California.

“It is how they treat me like family and every time we talk it doesn’t be about football with USC,” he said.

What about Kentucky?

“The relationships are there that I have built with coach [Anwar] Stewart, coach [Bob] Stoops and coach [Jon] Sumrall,” he said.

That would be the defensive line coach, the head coach and the inside linebackers coach for Big Blue Nation.

“We’ve got a great vibe and I feel like at Kentucky he can really develop me if I go up there and get coached up there,” Williams said. “I took a visit up there before COVID-19 and I really liked it. I liked the weather up there and all of that.”

LSU is on his mind based largely on tradition. When he thinks of how he’d look in yellow and purple, that is what comes to mind.

“The vibe the city gives off and how much they care about football so much,” he said.

Who does he think are the best recruiters in the country?

“That’s a hard question,” he said. “There are a lot of great ones.”

Mykel Williams-Georgia recruiting-Georgia football
Williams has a healthy competitive rivalry with Cedar Grove 4-star DT Christen Miller. Both are elite in-state prospects for the class of 2022. Those two are always competing and are regulars with Chuck Smith’s Pass Rush Academy sessions. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Mykel Williams breaks down Georgia’s recruiting pitch 

Running backs coach Dell McGee and defensive line coach Travion Scott are the primary recruiters for UGA.

Mykel Williams-Georgia recruiting-Georgia football
Mykel Williams is set to make his college commitment on March 15, but there is a scenario in which that could change. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

“I talk to coach Scott and coach McGee probably like every two or three days,” he said.

What’s the biggest pull for him with Georgia?

“The depth chart,” Williams said. “People see that they have got like 14 defensive linemen there and are like ‘Oh wow’ but when you really break it down and see the seniors and the juniors and who has got to go to the NFL Draft next it is kind of wide open for me there.”

The current scholarship number is actually 12. There are three DLs on the roster who will not be back in 2022 in Jordan Davis, Julian Rochester and Devonte Wyatt.

With a strong junior year, former 5-star Travon Walker is a clear early NFL draft pick projection.

That leaves seven scholarship DLs back for the 2022 season. There are really only 2-3 of those who have gained any playing time up to this point.

He’s said for a while now that the experience of being inside Sanford Stadium was what originally turned his head to UGA. He got to visit UGA two times back in 2019. Those trips have stuck with him.

What is he looking for largely with his decision?

“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.”

Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com “Before the Hedges” program is available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download it. 

Mykel Williams-Georgia recruiting-UGA recruiting
Mykel Williams also holds a “B” average at Hardaway High School and is always asking his coaches how he can get better. His young sister is also an impressive up-and-coming basketball prospect. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

March 15 is coming: The next few weeks for Mykel Williams

He said he does not have a decision yet.

“I will probably make the decision like a week before,” he said.

Williams was named a Max Preps All-American for the junior class after the 2020 season at Hardaway High in Columbus. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder had 17 sacks and 69 tackles as a junior.

He’s not burdened down by the weight of everything at this time.

“I kind of is what I expected,” Williams said. “It is getting a little bit harder but at the same time it is not as hard as what I thought it was going to be.”

Mykel Williams-Georgia recruiting-Georgia football
Mykel Williams has been a regular at former NFL Falcon Chuck Smith’s pass rush drills since right after his sophomore year. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Why is that?

“I’ve really been comparing and weighing out all my options,” he said. “The ones that I can and I really care about. It sounds like it is going to be hard, but really it is not.”

He’s heard, or he is at least hoping, that the dead period might be lifted prior to his decision. If so, that might affect his pending choice on March 15.

“If February 18 they decide they are going to open up the dead period and they lift and I will be able to visit I might consider pushing it back but right now I don’t think they are,” he said. “I don’t think I will get to do that.”

Does he need any more information to make a properly vetted decision here?

“I have just about everything in need,” he said.

Williams said his game has grown by leaps and bounds since he started working with former Atlanta Falcon Chuck Smith. Smith was known for turning up the heat on QBs during his nine years with the Falcons.

The 4-time captain of the NFL hometown team now pays it forward working with the brightest young pass rushers around. He’s taking the knowledge that led to 58.5 sacks in the NFL and sharing that.

“I swear if you watched my workouts from my freshman year to now, it is a huge leap,” Mykel Williams said. “It is because of coming to Chuck and then my work ethic.”

There is a budding rivalry and a friendship with Georgia commit Tyre West and Cedar Grove All-American DT Christen Miller. Those two are always training together at Smith’s sessions and have developed a rivalry.

It has made both of them better.

“These boys got a rivalry,” Smith said. “Every time these boys come here they go at it. When [Christen] knew ‘Kell was coming back here, then he started coming back all the time. What can I tell you? All of these dudes are going to be big time. Big-time ballers.”

Orlando Woolridge has been his coach at Hardaway High School. He shared the ultimate scouting report on Williams last season.

“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.”

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Mykel Williams had 69 tackles and 17 sacks as a junior. He was named his region’s Defensive Player of the Year for 2020. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)


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