Garrett Williams was a four-star (Rivals) recruit in the 2015 class from of Orlando, FL. After being recruited by Jeff Scott, he chose Clemson over offers from Florida State, Florida, Auburn, and Alabama among many others. With that decision he joined a recruiting class that included Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, Mitch Hyatt, Deon Cain, Kelley Bryant, and several other future Clemson stars. He was the only TE in the class.
Clemson entered 2015 with junior Jordan Leggett as the obvious starter at TE and Stanton Seckinger returning for his fifth and final year of eligibility as his back-up. Milan Richard and Cannon Smith were also coming off redshirt seasons. Nonetheless, Garrett found ways to contribute as a true freshman. In his own words:
“I was definitely more of a blocker like you said - blocker and special times my first two years.”
After two years, Garrett Williams had logged just a couple a tackles and two receptions, but he was ready to step into a much bigger role with TE Jordan Leggett leaving after the 2016 National Championship triumph. Unfortunately, while competing with Milan Richard for the starting role, Williams suffered an ACL tear during Spring practice and ended up redshirting 2017.
His blocking prowess was missed, but with the team looking for revenge after an ugly Sugar Bowl loss, he was finally ready to ascend to the role of a starter for Clemson in 2018. He was a major contributor in the H-back role, getting 433 snaps in looks like this one.
The image above is one I took during the Palmetto Bowl as his blocking caught my eye. It certainly isn’t flashy, which is why I didn’t notice for most of the year, but it became clear he was picking up key blocks and really contributing in a different but important way. He wasn’t making huge catches on National Championship winning drives like Jordan Leggett had two years prior, but he was a real piece of the offense’s efficiency. The coaching staff seemed to figure out what they had at TE and were adapting to use it quite effectively.
The staff made a point to honor his contributions by giving him a handoff from the fullback position for a two-yard TD run in Doak Campbell - an homage to his father who played FB at FSU. In the video below you can see Garrett Williams in the H-back position deliver a big block that propels Tavien Feaster to a nine-yard run to the two-yard line. Then Williams moves to FB and punches it in. Take a look:
Garrett Williams continued contributing in this way throughout the postseason as Clemson blew out Alabama and became college football’s first 15-0 team in the modern era. His contributions weren’t obvious on the stat sheet, but knowledgeable Clemson fans can easily appreciate what he brought to the team.
Because of the medical redshirt in 2017, he has one year of eligibility remaining, however TigerNet has reported that he will forgo his final season. It sounds like there may be some lingering knee issues as well as an interest in serving our country in the United States Marine Corps while his body still allows. The void will certainly be felt in 2019 as Milan Richard graduates and Braden Galloway is suspended by the NCAA due to a failed drug test (accidental Osterine ingestion). Garrett Williams was a quiet contributor and a strong student off the field, serving as a PAW Journey ambassador and twice earning ACC Honor Roll selections.
Garrett William’s role on the team could be called a thankless one, but we give huge thanks for he did during his time at Clemson. Should he join the Marines, we’ll owe him far bigger thank you for fighting for our freedom. For now, we’ll just thank him for fighting for our latest National Championship triumph.
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