The Purdue Boilermakers are looking for a turnaround of sorts next season under new head coach Darrell Hazell. While most of the attention on changes will focus on the offense that Hazell will bring with him to Purdue, there will need to be some playmakers emerging on defense as well for the Boilermakers to really make some noise in the Big Ten next season. Can sophomore Frankie Williams be that playmaker?
Williams saw significant playing time during his freshman season in 2012 and he was a productive member of the defense. He finished seventh on the team with 45 tackles to go along with two interceptions and nine pass breakups. He also got limited opportunities in the return game with eight punt returns in 2012, though he gained just 11 yards.
He seems to have been working on improving his game this offseason as well as he wrapped up a strong spring practice. Coaches took notice of his efforts and awarded him the “Hammer” award, given to the hardest hitter of the spring each season. His ball-skills that he put on display last year along with his big-hitting mentality lead many to believe Williams is ready for an expanded role in the defense next fall.
With that expanded role, Purdue may be in store for a breakout season from their young defensive back. New defensive coordinator Greg Hudson is taking in all the information as he designs his defensive gameplans for next fall and could be setting up Williams as a multiple-position threat, lining him up all over the field in both coverage and pressure to utilize his athletic talents to their fullest capability.
Following a promising freshman season, Williams is ready to build on it in 2013 and become a defensive leader for Purdue next fall. Will he be the key for the Boilermakers’ success next season?