TigerNet.com
Thursday, July 10, 2014 8:27 AM
Mike Williams: Following in the footsteps of Nuk Hopkins
by David Hood
Senior Writer

Mike Williams will more than likely line up at the “9-man” receiver position this season, a position made famous at Clemson by the likes of Nuk Hopkins and Martavis Bryant. Now, Williams feels like it is his turn to shine.

The 6-3, 205-pound sophomore out of Lake Marion High School had 20 receptions for 316 yards and three touchdowns in 404 snaps over 13 games (three starts) a year ago while backing up Bryant and Sammy Watkins. This past spring, Williams practiced almost exclusively at the “9” or boundary receiver position, and he told TigerNet that he wants to be the go-to guy in Clemson’s offense.

“Now that Sammy is gone, I am trying to take that role and be the guy to go to,” Williams said. “I feel like I am that type of player. I want to be that go-to guy, and I feel like I am taking on a leadership role. I really don’t have a personal goal as far as stats, but as a group I feel like we can do what Sammy and Tay did. We just have to go out and continue working. I just have to keep working on my route running and my releases. “

Williams said that he not only gained confidence from playing last season, he gained confidence from his daily practice sessions.

“I gained a lot of confidence from that. I gained confidence just going against Bashaud Breeland last year, and now me and Mackensie (Alexander) are going against each other,” he said. “We are getting more confident. Mackensie is a great corner and we have been competing every day.”

The loss of Watkins and Bryant means that the younger receivers will have to step up this season, and Williams said he is trying to be a leader both on and off the field.

“It’s different this season,” he said. “We have a lot of younger receivers. “But we are all great athletes, and we are all out there competing. The young guys just have to step up. I am trying to be a leader. Whenever Coach (Jeff) Scott is working with somebody, he tells me to go and work with the rest of the guys because he knows I know all of the positions. I am pretty much trying to help out with everybody.”

He also wants to make his mark at the “9.”

“As you can see, both Nuk and Tay both played nine man and both played three years and left for the NFL,” he said. “They are both great athletes, and I am just trying to follow in their footsteps.”

More on Mike Williams

*Before Clemson: Rated as the #180 player in the nation and #2 player in South Carolina by 247Sports.com ... #199 player in the nation and #3 player in South Carolina by ESPN.com ... top-300 All-American by PrepStar ... #19 wide receiver in the nation by MaxPreps ... first Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas player from his high school in 12 years ... had 60 receptions for 1,395 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior ... had 66 receptions for 1,296 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior ... had 42 receptions as a sophomore ... Orangeburg Times & Democrat Area Player-of-the-Year ... played quarterback in limited action as a junior; passed for 354 yards and three touchdowns on just 20 completions ... played in the Offense-Defense Bowl in Houston, TX ... coached by Chris Carter at Lake Marion High School ... recruited by Marion Hobby.
Personal: Majoring in sociology ... born Oct. 4, 1994.

*From his official Clemson bio.


David Hood can be reached at davidhood@tigernet.com