JESSE “The Monstar” WILLIAMS
Nose Guard/Defensive Tackle/End
University of Alabama Crimson Tide
Arizona Western College
Cavendish Road State High School
Aptly nicknamed “The Monstar,” this Australian product is one of the rare junior college recruits to join the Crimson Tide program during the Nick Saban era. He was actually “discovered” by the University of Hawaii staff when they were in Australia performing at a clinic. Williams, sixteen at the time, had just began to show interest in football a year earlier, as he had grown up playing rugby and basketball in Brisbane.
They immediately offered the sixteen-year old a scholarship and he committed to join the football team. Upon graduation from Cavendish Road State School, it was discovered that he was short two courses (in English and Mathematics) and was not academically eligible to play for the Warriors. Rather than return to high school to earn the required credits, he opted to come to the mainland, where he enrolled at Western Arizona Community College.
At the junior college, Williams’ reputation, or “legend” began to grow, just as quickly as his football skills developed. It was almost an accident that he even started playing foot-, as basketball was his main sport and he also loved playing rugby. As a teenager, “American football” wasn’t even really on his radar.
“Some friends egged me on to play football when I was fifteen,” Williams recalls. “I fell in love with the game. My friends saw my size and speed in basketball and I guess I was a little too physical. Rugby taught me tackling and basketball gave me the footwork. I fit in well from the beginning because I had speed, size and athleticism. I started by just playing and finding the ball. I have slowly progressed.”
Slowly progressed would be a drastic understatement, for in just one season of playing the game, he was going home with a scholarship offer from the University of Hawaii. “While the clinic was going on, I was the playing in a national tournament and was named the MVP,” Williams stated. “The Hawaii coaches saw me and one thing led to another. So I verbally committed to school when I was sixteen.”
Frustrated that the NCAA clearing house would not grant him permission to suit up for Hawaii, it was, as luck would have it, the best thing that could have ever happened to him. His trek to Western Arizona was mostly because of another clinic that he attended in Australia that was conducted by the Western Arizona College staff.
The Matadors’ head coach, Tom Minnick, and his staff followed the same route the Hawaii coaches did – they were teaching a clinic in Australia and saw him play in a national exhibition game vs. New Zealand. It didn’t take long for them to ask him to play for Arizona Western.
“Jesse is a great kid. He’s the first one on the field and the last one to leave,” Minnick said after Williams’ college freshman season. “He has learned a lot here. Being in a United State program a year now he has learned how to practice. That’s the main thing. In Australia they only practiced two days a week. Now it’s all the time and he knows how to stay healthy, eat right, and get his body ready for a full season. Now he’s been through spring ball. Jesse knows he knows what to expect now and we are expecting a dominating season.”
His freshman season saw Williams take over strong-side defensive tackle duties. He started all ten games, and while still a neophyte to the game of football, he recorded 46 tackles with four sacks and 6.5 stops for losses. His hard-hitting style from his rugby playing days resulted in the first-year player also causing four fumbles. He also saw snaps on offense. “He’s just one of those guys,” Arizona Western coach Tom Minnick said. “Jesse has those athletic legs. He has a big upper body and can really run. He has quick feet and bench presses over 500 pounds. Jesse is a freak.”
Other schools, mainly the West Coast major colleges soon took notice. His first offer after he got to Arizona Western was from Oregon State. The second came from national champ Alabama. “When the Alabama coach called me I thought he was joking,” Williams said. “It was coach [Nick] Saban. Sometimes I really can’t believe what has happened to me.”
What those coaches, and particularly the astute Alabama mentor saw in Williams was a raw talent that had an athletically proportioned build with very good upper body and lower torso muscle definition. He caught the coaches’ attention with his impressive blend of power and quickness, as he shows good bulk throughout his frame, especially in his wide hips and bubble. He has very good thigh and calf thickness and a defined chest with broad shoulders.
The defensive lineman packs good guns (arms) and despite his wide frame, he has low body fat. Simply put, he is well-built with an imposing frame and good muscle mass. His strength is renowned, as the Tide staff can vouch for what happened in the training room last July, when Williams put six 100-pound plates on the bar and instantly began doing bench press repetitions at 600 pounds, much like another lineman would do with the standard 225-pound bench press drill.
For a player of his size, Williams shows an incredible burst and quickness off the snap. Not only is he sudden in his movements, but he is also fluid. He displays excellent balance and body control working down the line and is a constant disruptive force with the suddenness he generates getting off the ball to penetrate. His speed allows him to make lots of tackles in the backfield, but it was hidden some in the Tide scheme, where the coaches used him more often in run containment rather that regularly attack the pocket.
Williams excels when allowed to demonstrate his strength to overpower and take on double teams, as this often freed up the Tide linebackers to make plays while their nose guard occupied multiple blockers. Still, with his acceleration and short area burst, he is the type of player some NFL position coach is going to love to “take off the chain” and unleash him more into the backfield.
Williams’ incredible strength, low center of gravity, long arms and redirection ability makes him very effective clogging up rush lanes as a highly efficient nose guard. He shows good urgency in pursuit when he escapes trash and in 2012 he demonstrated better swim and cross-over arm moves than he showed in the past. Still, he is a classic bull rusher who can stack and control when he keeps his hands active and inside his frame.
While he might still a neophyte when it comes to football experience (just four years playing the American game), he has made considerable progress and has no problems retaining plays. Few interior linemen display the strength and power that Williams has. He has shown marked improvement using his hands as a senior and plays with leverage, knowing that he will have good success using his brute strength to neutralize.
When he keeps his pads low, along with his experience as a standout rugby player, this allows Williams to generate great lower body strength at the point of attack. But, he is not the type to simply rely on his power, as he does a nice job of playing in control, keeping his hands active and inside his frame, and is quick to recoil and reset to get instant placement to stun and jolt the blockers.
Throughout his time at Alabama, his statistics might not be awe-inspiring, but there is no question that he was the one player on the Tide defensive squad that demands double team coverage from the opponent and even then, he is hard to move out. When he settles into position, he will use his quick hands to work across the blocker’s face and with his lateral quickness he is capable of also running down plays in long pursuit.
Williams closed out his Arizona Western career by recording 76 tackles that included six sacks and twelve stops behind the line of scrimmage in seventeen games. He also showed off his speed with a dazzling “serpentine-like” run on a 33-yard interception return, in addition to causing four fumbles and recovering another.
With just two years of American football experience under his belt, the Alabama staff thought that Williams would need a year or so to become acclimated to Southeastern Conference-brand of football. They were glad that they underestimated what their new recruit could accomplish on the field. He immediately earned a starting job for the Tide and his manhandling of blockers in the trenches while lining up at the strong-side defensive end position.
Williams recorded 24 tackles with four stops behind the line of scrimmage, but those statistics fail to show the constant multiple blocking schemes he faced. Occupying more that one opponent gave other Tide players the opportunity to shine. On the way to the national championship, Alabama put a unit on the field that led the nation in total defense, rushing defense, scoring defense, passing defense and pass efficiency defense during the 2011 schedule.
Williams shifted to nose guard for his senior season, in addition to seeing extensive playing time on offense as a fullback in goal-line sets. A concussion suffered vs. Michigan sidelined him early in the season, missing the Western Kentucky contests, but he again helped the Tide lead the nation in rush defense (76.36 ypg), pass defense (174.32 ypg), total defense (250.0 ypg) and scoring defense (10.93 ppg), as he posted 37 tackles, 2.5 stops-for-loss and four pressures on the way to another national championship.
In two seasons at Alabama, Williams started all 26 games he played in – thirteen each at strong-side defensive end and nose guard…Finished his Tide career with two national championship rings, recording 61 tackles with 1.5 sacks, 6.5 stops for losses of 18 yards, seven quarterback pressures and three pass deflections…Had previously started all seventeen games at Arizona Western Community College, where he came up with 76 tackles, six sacks for minus 36 yards, 12.5 stops for losses totaling 69 yards and eleven pressures…Also had an interception, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery at AWCC…For his complete college career, he registered 134 tackles (37 solos) with 7.5 sacks for minus 40 yards and 19.0 stops for losses of 87 yards while collecting eighteen pressures and five pass deflections…Had a 33-yard interception return and four forced fumbles while recovering another…Also blocked three kicks.
All-American Dream Team selection by The NFL Draft Report and a second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection by the league’s coaches, Williams shifted to nose guard during his second season with the Tide…Missed the Western Kentucky contest after suffering a concussion vs. Michigan, but manned the middle for the Tide’s national championship squad that led the Football Bowl Subdivision ranks in total defense (250.0 ypg), scoring defense (10.93 ppg), rush defense (76.36 ypg) and pass defense (174.32 ypg)…In thirteen starting assignments, he recorded 37 tackles (seven solos) with a 3-yard sack, 2.5 stops for losses of 8 yards and four pressures…Also blocked a kick and had a pair of pass deflections…In the Michigan clash, Williams had one assisted tackle and helped limit Wolverines to 69 yards rushing, but left the game in the second half due to a concussion…Returned two weeks later vs. Arkansas and assisted on three tackles and plugged up the middle to help hold the Razorbacks to 137 total yards of offense in the shutout win, as he also assisted on a tackle for loss…In the Florida Atlantic game, he registered three assisted tackles vs. the Owls, as he also blocked a field goal in the first half and was part of the Tide’s starting unit allowed only 35 yards of offense by the Owls in three quarters of action…Followed with a deflected pass, quarterback hurry and four tackles (one solo) and helped limit the Mississippi Rebels to 80 yards rushing and 218 total yards…In the Louisiana State contest, Williams made a career-high seven tackles with two solo stops, as the Tide limited the Tigers to 139 yards on the ground while their nose guard notched his first solo tackle for loss of the season…Equaled his career-high in tackles for the second straight game, with seven, and recorded his first career sack (three yards) vs. Texas A&M…Dominated the line of scrimmage vs. Western Carolina, helping to limit the Catamounts to one first down while the first string was in the game, as he made three assisted tackles…Posted three total tackles, with two solo stops, but missed a few series with a knee injury but returned in the fourth quarter to provide a touchdown-resulting block on Eddie Lacy’s scoring scamper and help close out the 32-28 victory over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.
Williams found his footing after just one spring on campus and earned the starting job at strong-side defensive end while moving inside to tackle in passing downs in a four-man front…The junior college transfer started all thirteen games and did a great job of stopping the run (UA led the nation allowing just 83.69 ypg) and pushing the pocket…Finished with 24 tackles (10 solos), an assisted sack, four stops for losses of 10 yards, three quarter-back hurries and one pass defection…Started his first game at the Capstone and recorded one quarterback pressure vs. Kent State…In the Penn State clash, he registered two tackles with one solo stop in UA’s win, as he also batted down a pass. North Texas…The junior played easily his most productive game to date vs. Arkansas, with a season-best five tackles and two stops-for-loss, as he dropped Hog running backs behind the line of scrimmage two times for a loss of seven yards and helped the Tide limit the Razorbacks to a series-low 17 yards rushing…In his first SEC road start, he delivered two solo tackles and helped limit the Florida Gators to 15 yards rushing…In the Vanderbilt game, he had one assisted tackle, which was a sack that went for a loss of one yard….Recorded five assisted tackles to help limit the then top-ranked Louisiana State Tigers to just 239 total yards and nine points…In the Mississippi State tilt, he recorded two early tackles before leaving the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury…Williams rehabbed his shoulder hard to get back for the Georgia Southern game, only to fall victim to food poisoning, which limited his snaps, but he did make three tackles, one solo, before going to the bench…Facing Louisiana State again in the BCA Championship Game, he produced two assisted tackles as the Crimson Tide captured the school’s 14th national title.
Williams started the first seven games at Arizona Western Community College, where he recorded 30 tackles (8 solos), two sacks for minus 12 yards, six stops for losses of 29 yards and six pressures…Also recovered a fumble, deflected two passes and intercepted another for a 33-yard return…Led a defensive line that allowed just 48.64 rushing yards per game to rank second in the NJCAA, earning All-Western States Football League and All-Region I honors for the second-straight year…Rated the second-best overall prospect in the junior college ranks by Rivals.com…Placed tenth on Super Prep’s Junior College Top 100 squad and received a four-star prospect rating from Scout.com.
In his first season at Arizona Western College, the All-Region I and All-Western States Football League defensive tackle started all ten games…Registered 46 tackles (12 solos) with four sacks for minus 24 yards and 6.5 stops for losses of 40 yards…Caused four fumbles and had five quarterback pressures…Earned WSFL Special Teams Player of the Week honors after blocking a Glendale field goal and extra-point attempt within the span of just 14 seconds.
Originally intended to play for the University of Hawaii, but failed to meet NCAA academic requirements.
2011 Season…Missed the final three games for Arizona Western due to a knee sprain.
2011 Season…Williams suffered a shoulder contusion in the second half vs. Mississippi State (11/12), missing the rest of the contest…Returned the next week vs. Georgia Southern (11/19), but missed most of the game due to food poisoning.
2012 Season…Underwent arthroscopic knee surgery that forced him to miss part of spring drills…Suffered a concussion vs. Michigan (9/01) in the season opener, missing the next game vs. Western Kentucky…Left the SEC Championship Game in the third quarter vs. Georgia (12/01) with a knee sprain, but returned in the fourth quarter to block on Eddie Lacy’s touchdown run…Did not compete in agility tests at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine due to a right knee injury (medical exclusion).
4.84 in the 40-yard dash…1.70 10-yard dash…2.77 20-yard dash…4.48 20-yard shuttle…
7.69 three-cone drill…31-inch vertical jump…8’9” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times…600-pound bench press…32-inch arm length…9 3/8-inch hands…77 5/8-inch wingspan.
Williams attended Cavendish Road State High School in Brisbane, Australia, where he first played rugby and basketball before suiting up for football for one season…Also played for the Bayside Ravens and Queensland Sun Devils.
General Studies major…Born 11/02/90 in Thursday Island, Australia…Resides in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
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