Defensive Lineman Raequan Williams
Chicago, Illinois (DePaul College Prep)
between 6'4'' and 6'6'', between 275 and 280 pounds
4* from Rivals, 24/7 Sports, and Scout. 3* from ESPN.
Arizona, Arizona State, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee
Thoughts on Offer List
Quite good. A handful of genuine Pac-12 powers, and a middling crop of SEC and Big Ten teams. Missouri, Iowa, and Oregon, in particular, have histories of top-notch lineman production, and Penn State is the same historically speaking, even if their new staff doesn't have much to judge by there, yet. Add in the obvious Michigan State offer and that's a collection of sharp eyes on the defensive line who like the kid's potential.
Thoughts on Film
Williams is clearly large, so large in comparison to most of his opponents and teammates, that one basically doesn't need the arrow before the play to point out where he is. Williams is the player you think he is on first look. He is able to push around his opposition on both sides of the field due to this physical edge alone, and you can see him regularly plow through double teams from two offensive linemen to get into the back-field.
Williams is also quick, particularly for his size. Once he beats his block, his size and speed combo is reminiscent of guys like Malik McDowell and Will Gholston. There are only so many guys like that in each class, and MSU seems to place a premium on reeling them in. He often lines up on the inside at DT in his film, though Matt Dorsey reports he'll get a look at DE with the Spartans, first.
He's clearly a very promising prospect, although he's so much larger than his opponents it's obviously a bit hard to project just how he'll deal initially against similar sized opposition at the next level. His advantages also seem to have made an arsenal of rush moves unnecessary, but that's a weakness Ron Burton and the rest of the defensive staff will surely correct.
Like Brandon Clemons, or Dan France, it's also possible that someone with his frame could find himself flipping to the offensive line, if DL doesn't work out for him. He has the body for it, and looks to be a willing run-blocker at tackle, at the least.
Outlook on the rest of the class
One got the impression that the Michigan State staff was still fishing around for one more promising defensive lineman in this class and it looks like they found their man in Williams. He has the size to make a quick impact if need be, and, with time, will likely be able to refine his plentiful raw materials into a finished product, as so many others have at MSU.
He also represents a continuation on MSU's up-scaled recruiting efforts in Illinois and Chicago, with beating out the long-favored Hawkeyes, a regular rival on that recruiting turf, probably coming as an cherry on top.
The 2015 class now sits at 15 commits, with probably two or three spots remaining. I know some offers remain outstanding towards more Demetrius Cooper type speed-rusher prospects, but it also would't surprise me if this was a wrap on the DL for MSU this class. If so, Williams and classmate Justice Alexander could conceivably fill in at either DT or DE by the time their tenures at MSU are up, and make no mistake, that type of versatility is heavily sought after by a staff with more than their fair share of successful renovation projects.
Congrats, Raequan, and welcome!