August 9, 2009

Countdown to kickoff: No. 18 Malcolm Williams

Name: Malcolm Williams

Position: Wide receiver

Classification: Sophomore

Prep credentials: The former Garland star was a four-star prospect (5.9) and was ranked as the nation's No.11 wide receiver/No.80 overall player by Rivals. Williams was ranked as the state's No.11 overall prospect by both Lone Star Recruiting and Rivals.

Click here to see Williams' high school film

2008 stats: Williams played in 13 games and finished with 17 catches for 304 yards and three touchdowns. Overall, he ranks fifth in school history among freshman receiving yards and his touchdowns tied for the second-most among all-time first-year players. Williams also returned four kickoffs for 80 yards and recorded four special-teams tackles

2008 Honors: None

Click here to see Williams' 2008 highlight film via UT's official website

Career stats: Williams has 17 catches for 304 yards and three touchdowns.

Best game in 2008: With Quan Cosby out of the game due to injury, Williams' gave the entire nation a glimpse of his game-breaking ability against Texas Tech in Lubbock with four catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns. The 182 receiving yards rank fifth on UT's single-game list and his 91-yard TD reception is the fifth-longest pass play in school history. In addition to the offensive output, Williams also recorded two special teams tackles, including a tackle on punt coverage inside the Tech 10-yard line.

Scouting Report: The 6-3, 220-pound Williams is easily the most athletically-gifted receiver in the Texas program and you can make a strong case that Williams is one of the best athletes on the team. A big, physical player that is a match-up nightmare for 95% of the cornerbacks at the collegiate level, Williams has the speed and explosiveness to turn any play he's involved in into seven points.

While he has zero peers on the roster when it comes to raw athleticism and abilities in the vertical passing game, he's not a player that does well when asked to create after the catch at a stand-still. Williams has the size and strength to run through any player in the back seven, but he's not a shake-and-back athlete that is going to make people miss in a telephone booth. In order for him to be most effective, he needs to run routes that allow him to catch the football on the move - slants, posts, crossing patterns, ect… If you're throwing the guy a bunch of hitches and stop-routes, there's a good chance he's not going to go very far. If you can get him the ball on the move, there's a better than average shot that he'll take it all the way.

Another thing that you love about Williams is that he can go up and get the football at its highest point. As a quarterback, your margin of error increases dramatically because you don't have to throw a perfect ball in order for Williams to come up with it. That being said, he needs to improve his physicality on all routes because there are times when he allows defensive backs to minimize his size advantage. It's the knowledge of his craft and a little bit on consistency that is keeping Williams from emerging as one of the Big 12' top offensive players. The good news for the Longhorns is that he's made great progress this off-season and was dominant at times in seven-on-seven work this summer.

The big hope… Williams emerges this season as one of the Big 12's most dynamic offensive weapons.

The big worry… He remains a secondary player in the line-up behind older players because of his inconsistencies and isn't featured enough on plays that maximize his athletic talent.

Did you know? Williams only caught five passes in the final four games of the season following his 182-yard/two touchdown night in Lubbock.

NFL Scouting report:"He's another guy that the staff talked up this spring to our staff when we came through Austin, but I haven't seen enough of him to know what he's got. I love everything that I hear, but I need to see it."

The bottom line: For all of the talk about the loss of Quan Cosby, the Longhorns might be a more explosive offense in 2009 if they can find a way to feature the incredible physical ability that Williams possesses. It's up to Williams to show the day-in and day-out consistency that Greg Davis is looking for because that's what it will take for him to take the next step as a player.

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