Meet D'haquille Williams, Auburn's Most Intriguing Player to Watch This Spring

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIMarch 7, 2014

Credit: 247Sports

Fresh off a magical season that brought an SEC championship and national title appearance to The Plains, the Auburn Tigers are now looking to turn that success into an outright crown.

Auburn will kick off its spring practice March 18 and close it with its A-Day spring game April 19.

Many key players will return, starting with quarterback Nick Marshall, who will be in just his second year at the helm of the vaunted Tigers offense.

The biggest star of Gus Malzahn's 2013 offense, Heisman Trophy finalist Tre Mason, is gone. That'll leave the running back position in flux and potential replacements Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant firmly in the spotlight.

However, the one player whom Tigers fans should have their eyes on is one who wasn't present for last year's remarkable run: junior college transfer receiver D'haquille Williams.

It wasn't long ago that Auburn had an immeasurable contribution from a JUCO addition when Cam Newton guided the program to its 2010 national title.

Williams may not have quite the impact that Newton did, but like the Carolina Panthers quarterback, he has a chance to be one of the primary pieces to the Tigers' attack right away.

Williams was the No. 1 JUCO player in the nation last year in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, and he's already enrolled and ready to compete.

The LaPlace, La., native joined Auburn out of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where he amassed more than 2,000 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns in two seasons.

He has the type of highlight tape that makes fans and coaches drool, but it's his Remember the Titans-esque pregame speech he gave while at MGCCC that has made him a legend among the Auburn faithful already:

If he can bring that type of energy and leadership to the locker room, it could prove to be invaluable for the Tigers' 2014 run.

It won't be easy for him to crack the Auburn depth chart at receiver. The entire receiving corps will be returning from last season.

That group is highlighted by junior Sammy Coates, who tallied 902 yards and seven touchdowns last year. Several other players contributed in the passing game, but Williams has the potential to be the most physically dominant of the entire bunch at 6'3", 213 pounds.

Receivers coach Dameyune Craig is optimistic about where the offense will be next year. As Brandon Marcello of reported, Craig likes the potential of Williams, though he isn't overbuying stock in a first-year player:

The consensus is we're supposed to be better next year offensively because of what we have coming back, but we still have to mesh and gel with the guys that are coming in. And the players that we have we, have to find a way to make them better. We have to find their weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

I think he has an opportunity to be a special player, but there's always a transition period for these guys coming from college to juco to a major SEC program. Hopefully the curve will be very, very short.

The shorter the curve, the more dangerous the Auburn offense will be next year. The Tigers finished No. 1 in the nation in rushing last year, averaging 328.3 yards per game, but their passing attack generated just 173 yards per contest.

Another dominant playmaker alongside Coates would make that offense even more lethal next year.

With that possibility on the horizon, all eyes should be on Williams as he makes his first appearance for the Tigers this spring.