You knew this one was coming, the only real question was how long until it came out. When looking at which freshmen could have the biggest impact on the 2012 season for Texas A&M, there are only a few players truly in the mix. Thomas Johnson, who we talked about last week, is certainly one because of his gamebreaking ability in what is a relatively thin receiving corps. Johnny Manziel (a redshirt freshman) will almost certainly see some snaps at quarterback which makes him a possible candidate as well. DeVante Harris will likely see the field at corner, and Mike Evans has the tools to be a big threat on the outside.
Williams is hoping he can continue the trend of successful freshman seasons. The Aggies have had freshman go over 800 yards in '03, '06 and '09.
But that said, when it comes to flat out playmaking ability, there's no question who the biggest threat is of the A&M freshman. The only question is, how are they going to use him?
What he can do
The electric Williams ran for 3,890 yards in his senior season at Dekaney. Think about that for a second. Even with all of the focus of the defense set on stopping the five star back, he still racked up well over 200 yards a game.
At 5-8 and lightning quick, Williams is going to naturally draw comparisons to NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders. They have similar running styles, relying on their sheer quickness to elude defeners, and both have great acceleration through the hole. That's not to say that Williams will be an NFL Hall of Famer, but that's the style of runner he is.
Within Kliff Kingsbury's offense at A&M, Williams is going to have the chance to be an elite playmaker early on. He's a perfect second punch to the powerful Christine Michael, and his ability to make defenders miss in the open field makes him a big time target in the short passing game. The Aggies don't have many quick players in space, even when including the receiving corps, so Williams should get plenty of chances out of the backfield.
The other good news for Williams is that he's not going to be relied on as a blocking back. That's not to say he can't do it, but the Aggies have a back in Ben Malena who is great at picking up blitzes and protecting the quarterback. That should free up Williams to just focus on making plays early on.
When you combine all of that, you have a recipe for a huge freshman season from A&M's five star running back.
Williams also brings a habit of winning to College Station, after winning a state championship at Dekaney.
What he needs to do
More realistically, Williams just needs to be good enough to take the pressure off of Christine Michael. Barring injury, he's not likely to be called on to carry the load for the A&M offense, so there shouldn't be much pressure on the freshman back.
He also will have to learn to cut up field and get the available yards. Freshman backs are often used to lighting the field on fire and just outrunning everyone all the time, so they build up some bad running habits. Things like cutting back across the field when they could cut north and south and switching the football with defenders nearby, those are things that Williams isn't going to be able to do.
If there's one priority for the A&M offense this season, it's holding on to the football, which is something that freshman running backs often have trouble with. (To that end, it's something that some older backs have trouble with as well.) Last year, the Aggies were absolutely terrible at holding onto the ball, and that's something that Sumlin has talked about on numerous occassions.
That's why, even though he's capable of putting up a massive freshman season statistically, all Williams really needs to do is focus on the little things early on. If he can do that, and not try to do too much early, his athleticism will come through and he'll make some big plays.