As his NFL Draft Stock Rises, Ole Miss’ Sam Williams focused on helping Rebels win
OXFORD, Miss. — No. 15 Ole Miss (7-2, 3-2 SEC) is readying for the Rebels’ upcoming matchup with the 11th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies (7-2, 4-2 SEC) Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
You can bet there’s one Rebel who is focused on doing whatever it takes to help his team emerge victorious, and that is defensive end Sam Williams.
This past Saturday against Liberty, Williams recorded two sacks, which puts him at a total of 10.5 thus far in 2021 and sets the single-season, Ole Miss modern-era sacks record.
Kiffin on Sam Williams setting school single-season sack record: "That to me shows how special Sam is when you set the season record and you're in a three-man rush…"
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) November 6, 2021
It had not even hit Williams what a milestone he had accomplished
“It didn’t until they announced it. I was like, ‘Dang, I set the record.’ I didn’t even realize that — and then it was my son’s birthday, his first birthday. It was pretty special, I’ll never forget it.”
Sam Williams on setting the single-season sacks record
Williams has notched a total of 20.5 sacks in his career putting him at third all-time in the Ole Miss record books. He also has tallied at least one sack in eight of nine games so far this season.
Bumps and Bruises
During the Liberty game, Williams suffered an injury and was a little banged up, causing him to miss some time in the second half. But on Tuesday, he seemed to have put that behind him.
“I’m feeling great.” Williams said. “I’m getting treatment, getting ready to play.”
Count head coach Lane Kiffin as one who certainly wants his sacks leader to be on the field against the Aggies.
”We hope Sam is fine. He played great, he is playing a ton of snaps.” Kiffin said.
“I’m sure PFF has the stat, but I would not think there’s a defensive lineman around the country who has played as many snaps as he has. He’s got a lot of games in the 60’s, some games in the 70’s. He’s been a warrior for us and hopefully he will be again Saturday.“
Coach Kiffin on Sam Williams
According to PFF.com, Williams has played 523 of Ole Miss’s 717 defensive snaps this season, which is 73% of defensive snaps. His 523 snaps played is second-most by an SEC edge defender so far this season. He has logged five games where his snap count was in the 60s and one game where it was in the 70s.
As his NFL draft stock rises, Williams just focused on helping Rebels
Without a doubt, Williams has put on a show this season. As a result, he has elevated his stock in the upcoming NFL draft.
Sam Williams and Cedric Johnson, keeping 14 draped in blue today. 🦈 pic.twitter.com/4LzsKGgkim
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) October 23, 2021
Through nine games this season, he has amassed 42 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Williams was asked if he uses his rising draft stock as a motivation.
“Not really, because tomorrow is not promised,” he began.
“I just try to every day get better and better, stock rising or lowering, it can go day by day. Every day I come with the same mindset (of) ‘What can I do to help this team win? What can I do to make sure I’m putting my team in a position to be better and have situations where they can trust me and lean on me to make plays, make big plays?’ NFL… Yeah, I think about it. I dream about, it but right now we’re focused on the next game, the next day.”
ESPN’s College GameDay will be in town for the SEC West battle between the Rebels and Aggies, and kickoff is set for 6 p.m. (CT) with the game televised on ESPN.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)
Nick Filipich was born and raised in Biloxi, MS. He is an Ole Miss senior majoring in Sports and Recreation Administration. A sports junkie with a great passion for all things Ole Miss, Nick played baseball and football in high school — which is where he discovered his love for sports. He is an avid Braves and Saints fan, and in his free time enjoys spending time with family, friends and his black lab, Dixie.