As we continue our march to kickoff, we take a look at the top 100 recruits to sign with Auburn of all-time*. The rankings are based on 247’s composite recruit rankings, which unfortunately only date back to 2000.
“Williams has developed like expected. He was identified as a freshman and he is now a top five linebacker in the country. He is a thumper in the middle, he can play sideline to sideline, and he really sees things well. He is an instinctive player, he is an athlete, and he should see the field very early as a true freshman in college.” - Chad Simmons
Williams’s recruitment was quiet for as big of a prospect as he was. You would think a 5* linebacker in Mobile would be in the middle of an intense battle between Auburn, Bama, LSU, and a few Florida schools, but when Williams decided to commit to Auburn right after his junior year, he was done.
“My mother and I had a long talk, and we were listing the good and bad things about recruiting. Going away from home was a bad thing, and enjoying my senior year was a concern,” Williams told AuburnSports.com. “I don’t want to think about my senior year being stressed out. I want to get it out of the way so I can enjoy the season and help my team win a state championship.”
Williams still took his official visit to Tuscaloosa in July, but the linebacker never really wavered in his commitment to the Tigers. Williams did indeed help St. Paul’s bring home the 5A state championship, and in February he became (at the time) the second highest rated linebacker to ever sign with Auburn.
With Kris Frost and Cassanova McKinzy manning the two starting linebacker positions in 2014 and 2015, Tre Williams was confined to being a backup in his first two seasons. As a freshman, the former 5* played in every game, but mostly as a special teams or mop-up duty guy. By the time he was a sophomore, though, he began pushing Kris Frost for playing time. Frost was also struggling with injuries, giving Williams a handful of starts.
With Frost and McKinzy gone in 2016, Williams became the experienced leader of the linebacker room. Even though he missed two games due to injury, his junior campaign was easily his most productive, as he tallied 67 tackles, 3.5 TFls, a sack, and a forced fumble. Even though he wasn’t a star, he was a big part of Kevin Steele’s first defense at Auburn, both on the field and in the locker room.
But injuries are the central theme to this story. Williams suffered a shoulder stinger in the Clemson game in 2017 which stayed with him the whole season. Although his numbers play declined due to the pain in his shoulder, Williams toughed it out all season for Auburn. When it came time for his senior day, Williams had a great game. After Auburn took the first quarter lead thanks to Kerryon’s jump pass, Williams came out and added a TFL and a fumble recovery to add to Auburn’s momentum. In fact, in his three Iron Bowls, he racked up 23 tackles, a TFL, and the fumble recovery. Safe to say he got up for the Iron Bowl.
Viewing his career as a whole, it’s frustrating that Williams never got to have a fully healthy season. It was clear he had the talent that made him a 5* recruit, and the head to make him a valuable leader in the locker room. His injury history kept him from taking his career to the NFL, as well. Williams spent 2018 working for the Auburn recruiting office while rehabbing injuries, and is not currently on a roster as the 2019 season is about to kick off.