BATON ROUGE, La. ― Leading the SEC in interceptions or passes defended is hard. Leading the SEC in both is rare. Leading the SEC in both as a freshman is downright silly. Which is where LSU cornerback Greedy Williams comes in.
Dating back to 2008, the first year for which passes defended data is readily available online, only three players have led the SEC in both interceptions and passes defended for a season: Alabama safety Mark Barron in 2009, Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson in 2014 and Williams this season.
Williams’ 5 interceptions and 15 passes defended both led or tied for the NCAA lead among FBS freshmen. He becomes the first freshman to lead the SEC in either interceptions or passes defended in at least 10 seasons, and the first underclassman to lead the conference in either category since 2010.
Among LSU players, Williams’ feat adds another layer of rarity. He’s the first LSU defender to lead the SEC in interceptions since Craig Steltz did so in 2007. In the time since Steltz graduated, LSU’s secondary has produced two Thorpe Award winners and an additional finalist, a Heisman Trophy finalist, five first-round draft picks and DBs who have combined to earn seven Pro Bowl appearances and five First-Team All-Pro nods in the NFL.
Yet Williams is the one who leads the SEC in interceptions. As a freshman.
Let’s look outside the SEC for a second and take a look at the whole nation. Williams is one of three players in the FBS in 2017 who made at least 5 interceptions and broke up at least 10 passes. The other two are Iowa junior Josh Jackson, a likely first-round pick should he declare for the NFL draft, and Duke sophomore Mark Gilbert.
Sure, some of this has to do with Williams’ teammates. When Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver II are the other cornerbacks playing aside you, teams have to throw at you more. Which is why, to be fair, Jackson, Toliver and Williams all have the same number of pass breakups ― 10.
But there’s no play a defensive back can make quite like an interception. Breaking up a pass leads to another down. Intercepting it can lead to points, which Williams’ picks have. Williams’ 5 interceptions have led to 3 touchdowns, 1 field goal and 1 kneel down to end a game.
And again. He’s a freshman. When there’s nowhere to go but down, it’ll be exciting to see how Williams continues his ascent.
The post Putting LSU CB Greedy Williams’ unprecedented freshman season in context appeared first on SEC Country.
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