The commitment of Jesse Williams was somewhat lost in the aftermath of the San Jose State pummeling, but his commitment deserves a second mention and closer consideration.
Stepping back for a moment, the hardest aspect of running a 3-4 defense is finding someone to hold the nose. It's incredibly tough to find someone for the position because not only do you need someone with the strength to hold the nose against double teams and the lateral agility to play two gaps, but you also need someone with the character required to toil in relative anonymity while your defensive teammates get most of the glory. It's much easier to find linebackers and ends, while it's exceptionally difficult to find someone who can legitimately hold the nose.
If you were drawing up an ideal nose guard, though, you would probably end up with something highly similar to Jesse Williams. This native Australian comes in at over 6'4 and 320 pounds, and he has simply annihilated JUCO competition. Don't underestimate that last point. It's one thing to dominate on the prep circuit, when half the team you are facing some 16-year pip squeak barely good enough to start on his high school team, but when you hit the JUCO ranks you are competing against bona fide players each and every week, and when you consistently leave those guys in a bloody heap, well, you're really doing something. Watch and enjoy:
Small wonder that Williams was heavily recruited by, and received offers from, nearly every program in the country, isn't it? Also no great head scratcher as to why he is widely considered the top JUCO prospect in the country.
For Alabama, this is the kind of commitment that can solidify a defense. Making matters even better, Williams is a December graduate -- 3.5 GPA to boot -- and he will enroll early at Alabama and go through spring practice. More than any other 2011 commitment, Williams looks almost certain to make a major impact immediately in Tuscaloosa. He does have three years to play his final two years of eligibility, but barring injuries I highly doubt a redshirt will be a necessity here.
Also, finally, as an interesting note, Williams is originally from Brisbane, Australia. Williams spoke openly about his background last year his selection to the World Team in the USA Football’s ‘Team USA vs. the World’ game:
My family means a lot to me. My family is indigenous Australians which means descendants of the original inhabitants of the Australian continent. My descendants are Aborigional descendents from the Wuthathi Tribe and Seven Rivers people in the Far North Queensland. My Torres Strait Island descendents are from Moa Island and the Thursday Island in Torres Strait and my great grandfather is a Torres Strait Island elder.
Sounds like a smart kid and clearly one hell of a pick-up. Welcome aboard, Jesse, and Roll Tide.