Monday, June 17, 2013
FSU Countdown: No. 34 P.J. Williams
By David M. Hale
Throughout the summer, NoleNation will be counting down the 40 players we're projecting to make the biggest impact on the Seminoles' 2013 season, taking into consideration everything from experience to potential to their spot on the current depth chart.
Next up: No. 35 P.J. Williams Position/Class: Defensive back/sophomore
Defensive back P.J. Williams took advantage of injuries this spring and showed he could handle a bigger role for the Seminoles.
What he's done: Williams appeared in all 14 games as a freshman in 2012, but his playing time was largely limited to special teams. He finished the season with 14 tackles (one for a loss) and excelled on kickoff and punt return teams. With a slew of injuries in the secondary this spring, however, Williams was able to showcase his skills at cornerback and work his way into the conversation for a bigger role in 2013.
Where he's at: Spring practice offered a big opportunity for Williams while veterans Nick Waisome, Tyler Hunter and Ronald Darby were out, and new defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jeremy Pruitt came away impressed. Williams' combination of size (6-foot, 190 pounds) and speed allows him to match up with more physical receivers while also excelling in coverage, and his versatility means he could work at both safety and corner. The problem, of course, is that there isn't a definite job for him in either place, and he'll open fall camp again behind Waisome, Darby, Hunter and others on FSU's depth chart.
What's to come: Williams capped the spring by picking off a pass from Jacob Coker and returning it 34 yards for a touchdown, providing one final highlight to remind his coaches what could be in store if they can find a way to keep him on the field. While a full-time role seems unlikely at this point, odds are Williams' talent will eventually win out and Pruitt will find enough snaps to ensure he'll get a crack at making a few more big plays. Questions remain about where Williams will fit best -- he could potentially see more work at safety in the short term, but might be a better fit at corner in the long term -- but regardless of where he's slotted, he's poised for a breakout.