South Carolina’s football team asked a lot of Jamyest Williams in his first college game, putting him in high-leverage situations clinging to a lead against N.C. State.
It asked a lot more of him against Missouri, and he again answered.
South Carolina’s five defensive backs played every snap, owing to a mid-foot sprain that kept safety Steven Montac in Columbia, S.C. For the other four, this became relatively commonplace down the stretch last season (including against Missouri).
But Williams was in high school last season, not playing 69 plays against SEC competition.
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Instead of wilting against a high-powered spread, he not only stood his ground, but made a pair of key plays, an interception that helped a 14-0 swing in the first half and a play in the late going bothering an Mizzou receiver.
“It started out with a disguise,” Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said of the interception. “They thought we were in quarters coverage, and he thought he had the flat wide open. He made a fantastic play on the ball.”
The pass was pulling a Missouri receiver outside, and Williams accelerated to shoot 4-5 yards under the route after the ball was thrown to pick it off. It offered a taste of the talent that had him as a top-100 prospect.
Beyond the six tackles, he also had a hand in the Tigers’ last offensive play. He reached into the arms of receiver Johnathan Johnson ripping out Drew Lock’s late pass in the end zone. What was first called a touchdown ended up an incomplete to wrap the game.
“He’s extremely quick, heck of play down here in the end zone to end the game,” Muschamp said. “Battles, and one of his most talented attributes is his competitive edge, the guy competes.”