At the top of the South Carolina 2014 recruiting class, there is not a lot of disparity among the elite recruits, but linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams comes in as the highest rated among his Gamecock classmates.
The first year for an incoming recruit can mean anything from redshirting to develop their bodies and learn the program's schemes to having an immediate impact. In Allen-Williams' case, he wants to have an early impact. And he is in position to do so.
As a great leader and a player with a high motor, Allen-Williams is about as motivated as football players come. He's already thinking of his future as an NFL player, and he sets high goals for himself. His goal for his freshman season is to get on the field. And that is what we can expect out of the youngster.
While built for the "Will" linebacker position right now with his 6'1" and about 230-pound frame, Allen-Williams can have an early role as a depth linebacker. He wants to give the "Mike" linebacker position a chance, but we can expect him to fit into the Will slot.
With Allen-Williams' speed, lateral movement and shear instincts to disrupt plays and find the football, he will challenge for time at the position.
Last season was a learning experience for an already young group of linebackers. The returning players have more experience than before, but Allen-Williams may have too much talent to keep him on the sideline.
Don't expect Allen-Williams to come in year one and take over the majority of the snaps and become a starter. Though, you shouldn't expect him to watch timidly on the sideline.
Allen-Williams is going to assert himself as a team leader among the younger players and quickly earn the respect of the upperclassmen. He's determined to make an impact, and he will as a depth linebacker. He might force a couple turnovers and will definitely log a respectable number of tackles to the number of snaps he plays.
Allen-Williams will shine as a young leader and will some day be a captain of this football team. It just feels like something he is destined to do.
As for his freshman season, Allen-Williams is going to foster healthy competition at the position that will make his teammates better because they will be fighting for their playing time. And in doing so, Allen-Williams will prove that he deserves time on the field and could work his way up to about 30 percent of defensive snaps. That's not too shabby for a freshman linebacker.
Allen-Williams has a bright future ahead of him and it all starts this year—in 2014—when he will make sure he has an early impact.
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