USC Football

Success Stories: Donte Williams' Cornerbacks

July 14, 2020

At this point, Trojan fans are all familiar with Donte Williams, cornerbacks coach and ace recruiter at USC. Williams’ success on the recruiting trail is well-documented and he and new Trojans safeties coach Craig Naivar are a dynamic 1-2 punch recruiting defensive backs. What sometimes gets lost however, is Williams’ ability to help develop players to play at a high level, so today we are examining some of the success stories of players under Williams’ tutelage. 

Bene Benwikere(5th Round Pick in 2014(Carolina Panthers)

Williams and Benwikere were only together one season(2013) at San Jose State, but the duo made it count. Benwikere was named first-team All-MWC, and at one point had four straight games with an interception. He finished the year with 11 passes defended and 5 interceptions and was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the 5th round of the 2014 draft. 

In 2015, San Jose State played in the Cure Bowl, and the Spartans were second nationally in pass defense (157.8) and 29th in passing TDs allowed (16) under Coach Williams.

Desmond Trufant(1st Round Pick in 2013(Atlanta Falcons)

Trufant, who signed with the Detroit Lions this offseason, spent two years with Williams at Washington, who served as a graduate assistant with the Huskies during that time. Trufant blossomed in his last two seasons at Washington and was named First Team All-Pac 12 as a senior. The two remained in contact even after both had moved on from the university.

While Trufant and Benwikere are two of the most notable NFL players that Williams coached, there a few Oregon Ducks that have blossomed under him, especially last year. It’s important to note that Oregon was the first Power 5 school Williams spent more than one year at as a full-time position coach, and the defensive backs in Eugene were really starting to come into their own. Thomas Graham Jr., Deommodore Lenoir and Mykael Wright were all named to the Pac-12’s Honorable Mention list and now, along with star safety Jevon Holland make up an elite secondary unit. At Oregon, Williams showed he could develop talent into high level performers, and he will get that same opportunity at USC with former blue-chip recruits Olaijah Griffin, Isaac Taylor-Stuart, Greg Johnson, and others. Trojan fans are hoping that this means a steady influx of talented recruits and All-Conference/American on-field performances for years to come.

Tags: Football
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