Tyler Williams: Why the ‘Dawgs already have a gamebreaker WR on the way in the 2023 class
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep shares the juice on what the ‘Dawgs have in 4-star WR commitment Tyler Williams. He ranks as the nation’s No. 20 WR and the No. 138 overall prospect for 2023 on the 247Sports Composite ratings.
Watching Jalin Hyatt go off for Tennessee against Alabama last weekend had a lot of DawgNation thinking.
Thinking and wondering. Maybe even hoping.
Hyatt had six catches for 207 yards and five touchdowns against the Tide. He snagged every touchdown pass Hendon Hooker threw in that 52-49 upset on Rocky Top. That doubled his already solid touchdown total through the season’s first five games.
The thought bubble for Georgia fans to consider was: Wouldn’t it be nice to see a Georgia receiver go off like that in a big-time game?
That would certainly add another dimension to this Todd Monken offense. The quarterbacks that can enable that level of production against Alabama are already on campus for future teams in Carson Beck, Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton.
The belief here is that those gamebreaker receivers are what is necessary there.
Are the ‘Dawgs recruiting a receiver like that now? Do they have one like that committed?
The answer would be yes to both of those topics.
The most logical candidate there is Tyler Williams. He committed to play for Georgia back on September 27. It is not a hope and a wish to think that Williams can one day stack up monster games in the SEC.
Hyatt was a 4-star recruit rated as the nation’s No. 33 receiver and No. 197 overall recruit back in his time as a 2020 recruit. Williams is already sized up as the nation’s No. 20 WR and the No. 137 overall recruit for 2023.
But he’s actually under the radar with that ranking. That’s because he just picked up the position in August of 2021. Williams caught 21 passes for 616 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior.
He’s caught 12 passes this fall in six games. Those receptions have gone for 238 yards and four touchdowns. That’s an average of 21 yards per catch.
Williams is right at 6 feet, 3 inches and 200 pounds. He’s also the punt and kick returner for his Lakeland (Fla.) High team.
What do the ‘Dawgs have here? Well, he’s only been a receiver for a little over a year and he’s already an All-American.
The ceiling for this prospect is going to be vast. He has the body and skill set profile that fits the NFL first-round draft pick prototype.
DawgNation collected the Intel from three key sources regarding Williams when it was down in Florida for his commitment ceremony right in the middle of Hurricane Ira.
Something that stood out besides the use of a young pup named “Lotto” as the prop for his decision reveal was the number of his youth coaches that showed up for his decision ceremony.
Let’s hear from:
- Lakeland High School quarterback Zachary Pleuss
- His receivers coach Marvin Frazier (He also coached current Bulldog Arian Smith)
- His head coach Bill Castle
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Tyler Williams: What does his QB think about his game?
Zach Pleuss is the quarterback of the Dreadnaughts. That program was awarded the national mythical championship in 2005 and 2006. Lakeland has also won seven state titles and now competes in Florida’s largest playing classification.
Pleuss enjoys throwing to Williams. Clearly.
“He’s an athlete,” Pleuss said. “Best athlete I’ve ever played with. Big props to him. He works hard all the time and it is really amazing having another guy like that I can trust.
What does he think Williams does best?
“He’s mentally smart,” Pleuss said. “He’s a player that is a student of the game. He understands the game and understands when he is going to be open. He changes his route mid-play because he understands the defense. He also played quarterback, as you probably already know, so he just understands what is going on with the other side of the ball. That brings a lot to our offense.”
What is his advice to the quarterbacks at Georgia that will get to throw to Williams?
“Just trust him,” Pleuss said. “No matter what. He might change his route or what the play is called just trust him. He’s going to get open. He will be open.”
Pleuss doesn’t define him as a catch radius guy. Or a speed guy. Or a jump ball or fade route specialist.
“He’s really everything,” Pleuss said. “He’s all-around. He can go up and catch the ball. He can run past the defender. Break somebody down. He’s just an all-around athlete.”
He will probably never forget the play he made for his Dreadnaughts at the Armwood game.
“I threw a one-yard tunnel screen and he took it 70 yards to the house,” Pleuss said. “How else can you be but thankful for that? That’s 71 yards on your stats for throwing the ball one yard. He makes his quarterback look good.”
Ball skills. Size. Length. Wiggle. He’s got all of that.
“It is just those long strides,” Pleuss said. “He’s big like a lineman or a linebacker or a defensive end but without a doubt, that’s what stands out about him.”
What went through his mind the first time he threw it to him?
“Dang this joker is fast,” Pleuss said. “I’ve got to get it out there. I can’t be sitting back there in the pocket or he’s going to outrun my arm.”
They call him “T10″ at Lakeland. Williams will even hold for extra points. When he returns kicks, he will go up and catch the ball at its highest points and just keep running. The traditional way of catching a punt return with cupping the hands and cradling the ball doesn’t work for him.
“I feel like that’s actually the better way to catch it,” Tyler Williams said. “You are actually able to gain momentum instead of having to catch it the traditional way. You have to drop your momentum to catch it and then pick it back up.”
“The other thing is he is a 6-foot-3 and 205-pound kid that I truly believe is a 5-foot-5 type of player trapped in that body. He’s a scat receiver.”
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Tyler Williams: What does his receivers coach think about his game?
Williams was the third-string quarterback heading into his junior season. He didn’t get one rep in the spring game that May.
He could launch the ball 70 yards with accuracy but didn’t have the command of the offense that the starting quarterback did.
So who got the pay raise for suggesting Williams move to receiver in mid-August?
“That was actually our head coach,” Lakeland High receivers coach Marvin Frazier said. “Instead of watching him sit and holding a clipboard Coach Castle said he’s too good of an athlete. Let’s put him at receiver. Now, I’m the wide receivers coach. So I was like ‘Now there is going to be a reason for him to curse me out because this kid is brand new at receiver and he’s not going to know how or want to block anybody’ but it was the total opposite with Tyler.”
“On the first rep, he scored on like a 60-yard post. The rest was history. We wanted him to play the position so he could learn it first and put one of our best athletes on the field and he just became one of the best receivers in the nation overnight. So that was all Coach Castle.”
That move was made the week before the start of the 2021 season. He scored three touchdowns in his first start. Frazier was at Lakeland when Georgia junior Arian Smith was at the school. How do those two compare?
“Arian is the speed demon,” Frazier said. “He is a freak of nature. From the first step, he is gone. To see his maturation at Georgia is incredible. Tyler is a wiry athlete who can do it all. Basketball court. Football field. He’s just an all-around athlete. For him to be a quarterback and transition over to being a receiver overnight the way he did just speak volumes.”
What stands out to Frazier about Williams?
“I think he just has a natural gift at catching the ball,” Frazier said. “We don’t even mess with him when it comes to returns. He catches the ball over his head. Most people want you to field it, not fight gravity and fall with it. Sink your body with the ball. But with him, he catches it at his highest point and is going. He’s just got naturally great eye coordination and hands. He’s just a freak of nature.”
The big term for Williams will be his upside.
“That’s the thing I’ve been telling everyone that whoever got him is getting a very gifted kid because he’s just scratching the surface right now,” Frazier said. “The way our practice schedule is we don’t get to do a bunch of individual time. So what you see from Tyler now is not even the beginning. We do a lot of repping plays and situations a lot.”
“I think his ceiling here is out of this world.”
As a result, there is not a clear focus on individual positional skill development.
“When it comes to the skill development we try to get a lot of that done over the summer and things of that nature,” Frazier said. “He’s a basketball kid, too. Somebody in college is finally going to get this kid locked and loaded at the receiver position and they will be able to develop a talent that you just don’t see every day,”
Georgia receivers coach Bryan McClendon will be able to mold him into what he thinks he can be. Williams said he paid close attention to how well McClendon has already developed Smith in the short time that he has worked with the former Lakeland star.
“The other thing is he is a 6-foot-3 and 205-pound kid that I truly believe is a 5-foot-5 type of player trapped in that body. He’s a scat receiver. You don’t see too many kids at that size that return kicks.”
“I think his ceiling here is out of this world. As far as athletic talent, he will remind you of your shiftiest slot guy but he is 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds. He’s also one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever been around. He holds himself accountable to others. Over the summer he is always trying to work with different trainers and trying to get some extra work in. The sky is literally the limit with him.”
Castle, the head coach at Lakeland, paid him a big compliment without really trying to.
“He’s a really smart football player that has got good savvy instincts and of course a lot of athletic ability to go with it,” Castle said.
He felt that his length is his greatest tool out on the field.
“Just a real good player,” Castle said. “An all-around good player. He’s got a lot of real good traits about him.”
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