The Florida State secondary has been without some of their key players this Spring.
The team's Defensive Rookie of the Year Marvin Bracy has missed the entire Spring recovering after surgery for a sports hernia. Nick Waisome is out recovering from a Labrum injury. Tyler Hunter is out. There are plenty of chances for some of the young defensive backs to step up and shine given the number of players missing right now.
The guy who's making the most of those chances is PJ Williams.
“It’s been real good because I know this is going to be my opportunity to step up and make a lot of plays and just prove myself so it’s been real good," said Williams. "I’ve been getting a lot of reps and just competing every day. It’s been a really good spring for me.”
While the starters are out Williams has been running with the first team and that suits him just fine.
“It really gives you extra push because you’ve got to make plays, you don’t want to be the only one messing up so you’ve got to mature and step up and be making plays with all the other players," he said. "I think I fit in real good because I knew this was going to be my opportunity to come and just do a lot so I think I got a lot better and being with the first team just gets you that much better.”
So far the rest of the team is sitting up and taking notice, from coaches to players Williams has been one of the first names mentioned when you ask who is standing out.
“PJ I’ve been very pleased with. He’s making progress every day and he’s got a chance to be a very good player," said Jimbo Fisher. "Guy shows a lot of toughness too, physical guy.”
“I think he’s going to be a key player like just in case, depth-wise he can come in and play, he can relieve if someone’s tired and I mean he’s definitely a great player," said Nick Waisome. "He needs to be on the field, he’s been working hard and it’s kind of like coach is going to have to find a spot for him to play.“He’s a real physical guy, kind of reminds of Xa[vier Rhodes] sometimes, but he stays to his technique and I think he’s good at finishing the play at the end.”
If PJ Williams reminds people of Rhodes it's with good reason. After growing up idolizing safeties like Ed Reed, Williams thought he was coming to FSU to play there. When he moved to corner he gravitated towards Rhodes, who was of a similar ilk- big athletic CB's who came to FSU thinking they'd be playing another position.
“That last year was a good learning year for me," said Williams. "Just looking at technique, looking at him sticking people, he’s a big corner, I’m a big corner so it was big.“He helped me a lot with that, he told me how he came in and he didn’t get to play much he was like mad and stuff but he told me just get better every day. He taught me just be patient and work hard.”
That patience seems to be paying off this Spring. Williams is impressing coaches and as he likes to say, 'making plays.'
To PJ, playmaking is a mindset. One that he happens to live in.
“It’s always been my mindset," said Williams. "And especially this year getting a lot better, I’m trying to make a whole lot of plays. Just competing and then making plays.”
For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...Follow @PatrikNohe_MH