Atrilleon ”Trill” Williams joined Andre Cisco, Jarveon Howard, and Abdul Adams on Wednesday night with his decision to opt out of the remainder of the 2020 seasons and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
With Trill’s time in Syracuse effectively over, let’s look back on his three years in the Salt City.
First, let’s go all the way back to where it started, high school. Williams was SU’s highest rated recruit in the 2018 class. Coming out of Archbishop Stepinac High School in Yonkers, New York, Trill was rated a 4 star ATH by the 247sports.com composite and given a grade of 93 by 247sports.com. Williams was also rated the third best prospect in the state of New York in the ‘18 class behind blue chip Ohio State recruits, Jeremy Ruckert and Matthew Jones.
Williams had ten offers and spurned Pittsburgh, Boston College, and Rutgers to attend Syracuse. Trill actually was committed to play at Rutgers originally back in 2016. Before even stepping foot on “the hill” the former four star recruit had tons of hype and big expectations from the SU faithful. This begs the question now two years later, did Williams live up to the hype? Let’s find out.
Trill joined the Syracuse football team at its peak in 2018 and made an immediate impact. Dino Babers elected to use Williams’ 4.53 forty time in the defensive backfield and slotted him at corner. Number 21 (at the time) took full advantage of early opportunities to see the field. Trill started four games, one at nickel and three at corner. Williams made a huge impact on defense contributing two interceptions to the number 4 defense in the country in takeaways. He also made plays on special teams. Against Wagner, Trill blocked a punt, scooped it, and scored.
As a sophomore the hype grew even more for Williams and how could it not? The New York native played huge minutes as a freshman and made impact plays in SU’s biggest games including an interception against Clemson. Trill switched numbers from 21 to 6 and increased his starts from four to six.
Trill increased his tackles from 31 to 38, added another interception against Clemson for the second year in a row, forced three fumbles and recovered one of them. But, if there’s one play to ever remember Trill for, it’s the strip and score in overtime against Wake Forest to put a bow on an otherwise disappointing 5-7 season.
At the conclusion of the 2019 season Pro Football Focus rated Williams the best corner in the country at defending screen routes.
“Williams made two defensive stops on his four targeted passes on screens. He allowed just 12 yards after the catch on screens and didn’t miss a tackle; doing so without lining up in press coverage on a single screen attempt made this even more impressive.”
Trill made an increased impact in his second year at Syracuse and showed flashes of greatness but fans still hadn’t seen him become a full time starter and arguably live up to the 4 star billing.
Williams’ third season didn’t exactly get off on the right foot. COVID-19 threw off winter conditioning, spring ball, and the offseason as a whole. There were undoubtedly some missed opportunities for growth for Trill and the entire Syracuse defense. Especially considering the fact that Babers brought in a new defensive coordinator in Tony White, the odds were stacked against the Williams and the SU defense.
The new 3-3-5 defensive scheme was tailored to fit Trill and the Syracuse secondary like white on rice, and for the first couple games it was dominant. Williams was a perfect fit and picked up right where he left off in 2019. The junior had 24 tackles in just five games, many of which he didn’t play big minutes in due to injury. If Williams were to play a full season, he was on pace to make at least 50 tackles, shattering his previous career highs.
Williams added an interception and a touchdown (thanks to Jahad Carter) against Georgia Tech in what remains SU’s only win this season. After the Tech win, things seemed to go downhill for Williams, he was in and out of the next few contests and was reportedly battling injuries. After missing the Wake Forest game this past Saturday, the writing seemed to be on the wall. Trill made it official two nights ago. For his efforts in the 2020 season, PFF rated Williams the 2nd best slot corner in the country which will certainly boost his draft stock.
So, did Williams live up to his 4 star recruiting ranking? Some may say yes, some may say no. Trill was an impact player in all of his three seasons on the hill and made big plays in the biggest stages of the college football. For that reason my answer is yes, and SU fans won’t have to wait much longer for the next blue chip corner recruit to come in and play. Syracuse 2021 commit Darian “Duce” Chestnut is currently the Orange’s highest rated recruit and figures to be the future of the Syracuse secondary.
Trill thanks for the memories, the highlight reel plays, and all the hard work. Now go make Syracuse proud in the National Football League.