It was not expected, but Quinnen Williams has turned in an exceptional season as a first-year starter on Alabama’s defensive line. Replacing the departed Da’Ron Payne, who is in the National Football League, Williams leads the Crimson Tide in tackles for loss (12) and has four of the team’s Southeastern Conference-leading 31 sacks through nine regular season games.
The Birmingham, Ala., native was very disruptive against Louisiana State University, as he accounted for 10 tackles – including 3.5 stops for loss and 2.5 sacks in Alabama’s 29-0 win at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.
Williams’ performance earned him player of the week honors from the Tide’s coaching staff, SEC, Walter Camp Foundation and Maxwell Football Club. Despite it never having a player win the Outland Trophy, which is presented to the nation’s best interior lineman on offense or defense via Football Writers Association of America, Williams could deliver the program its first honoree.
He along with offensive linemen Jonah Williams and Ross Pierschbacher all were selected, giving Alabama an SEC-leading three players nominated for the award.
The combination of Williams and Pierschbacher has provided Alabama’s offense with averaging 51.3 points and 565.6 yards per contest.
Under offensive line coach Brent Key, Williams and Pierschbacher anchor a unit that has allowed an SEC-fewest five sacks all season.
📰 @QuinnenD1, defensive POTW: https://t.co/hJZmUWGKDP
👀 interviews with @RossP71 (https://t.co/EqdYlYWgCW), @JonahGWilliams (https://t.co/SjC9OPU2Uf).#FightFlu @NFIDvaccines pic.twitter.com/08APm6MwyK
— Outland Trophy (@outlandtrophy) November 7, 2018
The tandem has been great to sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, seeing that he has tossed for 2,361 passing yards with 27 touchdowns to one interception.
Even the Tide’s rushing attack has started to emerge.
Behind Williams and Pierschbacher, senior running back Damien Harris posted his second 100-yard game of the year versus LSU and ninth of his career. He is now 458 yards away from becoming the first back in school history to collect three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
Former Alabama stars Chris Samuel (1999), Andre Smith (2008), Barrett Jones (2011) and Cam Robinson (2016) all took home the Outland Trophy as offensive linemen. It would be nice to see Williams or Pierschbacher continue the trend; however, to see Quinnen Williams win would be special.