Tulane’s Dorian Williams polished, prepared for jump to NFL

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Dorian Williams

The road to Tulane linebacker Dorian Williams and several other members of the Green Wave raising their draft stock started with a 1-0 mentality.

The mindset for the program allowed for several standout players to consistently shine through and for the Tulane team as a whole to ultimately make history with a conference title and Cotton Bowl victory over the USC Trojans.

“We preach it every day,” Williams said during the season after Tulane’s 27-13 victory over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. “You’ll hear guys talking about a different team we’re about to play and it’s just focus on Tulsa, focus on SMU, whatever the week may be. You can’t overlook anybody and I think it’s a great thing. You have to play every game like it’s your last, because it could be.”

Williams finished out that game with 5.0 solo tackles and 8.0 assists with two sacks as the team’s defensive leader statistically – something he did multiple times during the 2022 season.

“We didn’t give up many big plays. They came out and did a lot of new stuff that they hadn’t shown,” Williams said. “But our guys did what they were supposed to do and everyone executed and did their job. Played with some fire and coach Hampton put together a great game plan.”

Williams finished out the year with 131 combined tackles (81 solo), seven passes defended, five sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions in the best overall season of his career. Now, the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder is taking his talents to the next level.

Mindful of the mental part of the game, Williams said he couldn’t feel any better prepared by the defensive scheme that former Tulane defensive coordinator Chris Hampton ran in New Orleans.

“He runs an NFL scheme,” Williams said. “He wants to get everybody that he can their looks and make that transition easier for us. I feel like I improved on my blitzing technique, covering, man coverage, zone drops. I’ve continued to improve on breaking on the ball, catching the ball. I’ve had a couple chances this year to catch a couple of picks.”

Among the players Williams says he models himself after is Indianapolis Colts defender Darius Leonard, whose ability to fly around the field and force turnovers is something that Williams admires.

Now preparing to take the next step into the same league as Leonard, Williams is confident in what he brings to the table and how he’s developed as a player.

“(I commend myself on) my speed. I have a long frame and I like to hit,” Williams said. “I’m a pretty physical guy. I’m a team guy and I love everybody in our locker room. And, not to be cocky, but I think I do a really good job of flying around.”

The native of Indian Land, S.C. played a large role for Tulane in theur climb from a program that hadn’t had a ton of success on the football field over recent years to a Top 10 team. It’s easy to argue the beginning of that was when the Green Wave took down the Kansas State Wildcats 17-10 in September as heavy underdogs.

“Coach Hampton told us before ‘hey, they really want to run the ball.’ Me, Nick (Anderson), the defensive line, all of us pride ourselves on not letting guys run all over,” Williams said. “We feel like that’s just a disrespectful thing to do. We love to get after it and we knew Deuce (Vaughn) was a shifty guy, and we just kept preaching to everybody to really stay in their gaps well because he’s a smaller guy. You can’t really see him whenever he gets behind those offensive linemen, so I think everyone did their job and stayed on their assignments well.”

Outside of the regular season and a New Year’s Six bowl game appearance, another place Williams shined and impressed onlookers was the Reese’s Senior Bowl. He thought he made a solid impression on NFL teams with both his tangibles and intangibles.

“Just being able to run and make plays on the ball and being able to show I can be a good teammate as well in front of a lot of different people, playing alongside some players I’ve never played with before,” Williams said. “I thought I did a good job using my length but there’s still some more to prove for sure. There’s a lot of great guys here we never had the opportunity to play against, so, it’s become like a little family here on the American team. We’ve all gotten to know each other and we’ve all built bonds.”

It will be interesting to see where Williams ultimately lands, but he’ll surely be a prospect to watch as he transitions to the pros.

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Crissy Froyd

CCS Columnist

Crissy Froyd is a sports reporter of roughly nine years who graduated from LSU and has spent time at USA TODAY SMG, NBC Sports and the Fan Nation network on Sports Illustrated. She specializes in quarterback analysis and covers the SEC and college football across the state of Louisiana in addition to working with several college quarterbacks across the nation.

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