Versatile lineman adjusts at guard

Darryl Williams will have his first opportunity to play as a redshirt freshman this fall. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Darryl Williams will have his first opportunity to play as a redshirt freshman this fall. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Darryl Williams played all five positions during his career at Bessemer City High School in Alabama.

The versatile offensive lineman was recruited to Mississippi State as a four-star center but soon shifted to left guard after arriving on campus in 2015. The move was met with Williams’ approval.

I like guard better,” Williams said. “I came in as a center but coach (John) Hevesy thought me playing guard would be a much better move for me in my situation.”

Williams sought advice from veteran interior linemen Devon Desper and Jamaal Clayborn and shot up to No. 2 on the depth chart at left guard during the spring. He entered the fall competing with sophomore Deion Calhoun for the starting job.

The expectations are extremely high,” Williams said. “You’ve got to come to practice and be ready to work every day. Nothing comes easy.”

Williams benefited just as much from the Bulldogs’ nutrition program just as much as he did from the strength and conditioning program during his redshirt year last fall. He shed 14 pounds from his 6-foot-2 frame while adding 80 pounds to his bench press up to 385.

The redshirt year really helped me,” Williams said. “It helped me a lot to gain strength, lose weight and getting my body physically healthy. I came in at 317 and it was bad weight. Now I’m at 303 and most of it is muscle now.”

Williams was ranked among the top ESPN300 prospects nationally and rated the No. 10 recruit in Alabama as a high school senior. He participated at The Opening, an invitation only prospect camp at Nike Campus in Oregon, and also the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.

Williams admits its was difficult adjusting to life at the college level and would take more than sheer size to get the job done.

It was a really hard battle to just jump from high school,” Williams said. “In high school, guys weren’t your size and it wasn’t physical every day. (College) was an adjustment. You have to learn your technique and go harder than you ever did in high school.”

Williams drew scholarships from Auburn, Cincinnati, Florida State, Kentucky, Louisville, South Alabama, Southern Miss and UAB during the recruiting process but has no regrets about his decision.

I’m happy I chose State over the other schools I had offers from,” Williams said. “Now that I’m here, it’s time to grind.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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