Star-studded sophomore defensive lineman Leonard Williams has been named First Team All-American by ESPN.com.
Williams finished the regular season second on the Trojans with 73 tackles and also had 13.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks and four other quarterback hurries and also forced two fumbles and grabbed an interception. His prestigious award comes alongside 3rd-team All-American honors from College Football News last week.
He was the best player on a defense that ranked 16th in the nation in total defense, 20th in rushing defense and 23rd in scoring defense that showed flashes of brilliance this season under interim coach Ed Orgeron and especially during the first four games of the season against mostly non-conference foes under Lane Kiffin.
Williams' accomplishment places him amongst elite category for Troy standing the 161st First Team All-American in USC history, which has certainly seen its fair share of dominant players over the years, continuing a run of three-straight years for sophomore winners dating back to Robert Woods and Marqise Lee from 2011 and 2012.
Shortly before leaving as interim head coach, Ed Orgeron acclaimed his stud sophomore, who he personally recruited out of Florida, for his elite-level combination of size and skill on the football field.
"He is probably one of the best athletes we've had here on the defensive line as far as size-speed ratio. He is a highly unusual football player with the combination of speed and quickness at the size that he has," said Orgeron.
Last season Williams burst onto the scene earning Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors, accumulating equally strong numbers (13.5 TFL, 8 sacks) playing under Monte Kiffin's defensive scheme.
The Trojans All-American defensive end will return this Spring for his junior season, and alongside Freshman All-American Su'a Cravens (and Hayes Pullard if he returns) should be major defensive building blocks in Steve Sarkisian's program.