Every day until fall camp begins for Ohio State, we will profile a different Buckeye football player. Today that player is redshirt freshman safety Kourt Williams.
No. 2 | Safety/Bullet | 6-1 215 | Redshirt Freshman | St. John Bosco High School | Harbor City, California
How’d He Get Here
Kourt Williams came to Ohio State as a 4-star prospect out of St. John Bosco High School in California. He was ranked the No. 12 outside linebacker in the 2020 recruiting class and the No. 166 player overall per the 247Sports Composite. He chose Ohio State over offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia, USC, Texas A&M, Michigan, and many more. Williams attended the same high school as former Buckeye offensive lineman Wyatt Davis. He enrolled in January of 2020, so he was able to go through workouts before spring ball was canceled last year. Williams and receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba were the first two freshmen to have their black stripes removed last year.
Williams suffered a torn ACL last October in fall camp during a year where the Buckeyes were made to start, stop, and start again by the Big Ten decision makers. He was not yet full go in spring ball but was able to run and get some individual work in. He is expected to be fine by the time preseason camp begins in late July or early August. Currently he is with the safeties and projects to the Bullet position where at the moment he is behind redshirt sophomores Craig Young and Ronnie Hickman. When Williams arrived in the winter of 2020, he was already talking about the Bullet position and how the coaches had a plan for him there and that he thought it would fit his game well.
What to Like
Williams is a bigger safety who can run (4.6 at a combine as a high school junior), but is also very comfortable with the more physical aspects of the game. In high school he defended the slot and also rushed the passer effectively as a blitzer. He’s a good open-field tackler, which is needed since he will find himself on an island from time to time. Kourt Williams is the kind of player you sign when you have made the Bullet part of your defense.
What’s the Ceiling This Year?
The ceiling for Kourt Williams in 2021 is him winning the job at Bullet or Sam. If he does, he could have the same kind of impact that Darron Lee had in 2014. That’s the kind of potential he has. That ceiling, however, is currently being held up by support posts as he gets his footing back. He will also have to pass a couple of older teammates to get on the field, but there is a plan to ease him in. It will then be up to him to make it difficult for his coaches to keep him off the field.
The first time Ohio State head coach Ryan Day spoke to the media about the 2020 class, he said that he saw Kourt Williams as a future captain. When a coach is saying that about you before you’ve done anything on campus, that’s a pretty profound statement. Even with the ACL setback, the expectations are very high for Kourt Williams. Had he not gotten injured last year, he may have entered spring as the No. 1 Bullet. He has essentially been the future at that position since he signed, and that is still the case today. Williams also has the frame and ability to become a full-time linebacker if the Buckeyes want to go that way. He could be a Sam or a Will for the Buckeyes down the road and would provide the kind of range that defenses in today’s game need.