No. 1 recruit Williams headlines Auburn's top-ranked junior college signings
In the past few weeks, members of the Auburn football program have won intense rivalry games, an SEC Championship, a berth in the BCS National Championship Game, numerous individual awards, a trip to New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation and contract extensions.
On Wednesday, the Tigers sealed another important win -- one that could have a major impact on the future of their high-powered offense.
Head coach Gus Malzahn opened his Wednesday press conference by confirming Auburn's signing of three junior college prospects, including top-ranked wide receiver D'haquille Williams.
Auburn signed Williams, safety Derrick Moncrief and offensive lineman Xavier Dampeer on Wednesday morning, which was the start of the midyear junior college signing period.
Williams, who is considered the No. 1 junior college player in the country by several major recruiting services, had 51 receptions for 733 yards and nine touchdowns for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College this season. The 6-foot-3, 213-pound receiver was an NJCAA All-American as a freshman and will enroll at Auburn as a junior in January.
"He's a dynamic player," Malzahn said. "He can run, catch and do all the things it takes to be a great receiver."
Williams, a Louisiana native, was originally committed to LSU, but he flipped to Auburn this summer after an official visit. Even though doubts about his commitment to Auburn grew as the Tigers went with a run-heavy playbook in their march to Pasadena, Williams will be on The Plains next season.
Malzahn's famed Hurry Up, No Huddle offense has not always been as run-heavy as it has been in this title season, and the head coach believes a major signing like Williams can help balance the system.
"If you look back, we've had years where we throw it a lot," Malzahn said. "We're going to get more and more balanced next year. Anytime you got a dynamic guy like (Williams) coming, that's a really good thing."
Moncrief, a teammate of Williams' at Mississippi Gulf Coast, was named a 4-star recruit by 247Sports.com's Composite Rankings, which compiles several major recruiting services' rankings into one. A native of Prattville, Moncrief will bring more depth to an undermanned Auburn secondary.
"He's a big, physical guy who can tackle," Malzahn said. "He has very good cover skills as well."
Dampeer, Auburn's third junior college signing, is a 3-star offensive lineman from Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) Community College. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Dampeer committed to Auburn after the Tigers' 30-22 home win against Ole Miss.
"He's got the ability to play center and guard," Malzahn said. "He's just a big, strong kid."
When asked if the new signings would get to Auburn in time to be a part of national championship practice, Malzahn said the team was "working on it."
Malzahn's confirmation of the three junior college signings came during Wednesday's Media Day session at the Football Complex. Check back here Thursday and Friday for more coverage of Auburn's preparation for the BCS National Championship Game.
(UPDATE: Four-star defensive tackle DaVonte Lambert, who was committed to Tennessee, signed with Auburn on Wednesday afternoon. Lambert, who played at Georgia Military College, is Auburn's fourth junior college signing of the day.)