Oregon continued its hot run of commitments in the transfer portal on Tuesday with the addition of former Fresno State safety Evan Williams.
The Ducks needed to add some pieces to their secondary this offseason after losing players like Christian Gonzalez and Bennett Williams. Focusing on safety, Dan Lanning and his coaching staff were able to add a talented pair of prospects from the prep level in Tyler Turner (enrolled) and Kodi DeCambra in the 2023 recruiting class, but that pair of defensive backs will likely need some time to develop before cracking the rotation.
Williams on the other hand, projects as an instant-impact, plug-and-play type of addition.
After playing four seasons in the Mountain West, he helped lead the Bulldogs to their first conference title since 2018 this past season. Williams was a key contributor on defense and he'll bring proven production to Eugene after logging 66 total tackles (54 solo), six tackles for loss and four pass breakups in 10 games during the 2022 season. He missed four games due to injury.
Listed at 6'1" and 194 pounds, he's got good size for a defensive back that will make him a good physical matchup for the Pac-12 wide receivers and tight ends he will have to cover.
After watching Williams' film it's clear that he has a strong feel for the game and pattern of causing disruption on defense. In 32 career games across four seasons, he forced six turnovers (four interceptions, two forced fumbles). The Bay Area native also had strong moments in coverage and bringing pressure, defending 16 passes and coming up with 8.5 tackles for loss.
He's a strong tackler that's more than capable of coming down to help defend against the run and provides additional value as a playmaker defending the pass.
I was able to connect with Omari Green, the defensive pass game coordinator and safeties coach at College of San Mateo, who has coached both of the Williams brothers, to get some of his thoughts on Evan.
"Evan is a great overall kid on and off the field. His football skills are some of the best I’ve seen in terms of football knowledge, technique, his ability to play a ball and his physical presence in the run game and in the pass."
Williams is a solid addition that gives Oregon some clarity at safety in 2023, however the Ducks are still waiting to see what the future holds for safeties Jamal Hill, Steve Stephens IV and Bryan Addison, who all have the option to return for another season.
I'm told by a source close to the Ducks program that Williams will likely enroll at Oregon this week.
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