Depending on the situation in life or sports, often times people don’t get second chances. When they do, it is up to them to make sure they make the most of the extra opportunity. Bryson Allen-Williams is making the most of his second chance at his senior season in Columbia, and he is taking full advantage. After missing most of last season with an injured shoulder, Allen-Williams is enjoying the chance to redo his senior season. The linebacker from Georgia has been all over the field for the South Carolina Gamecocks defense this year. He lines up at both defensive end and linebacker and has been their most consistent defender in 2018.
Bryson Allen-Williams; Leader and Play-maker
Allen-Williams was a highly coveted recruit in the high school football hotbed of Georgia. The Gamecocks fended off late offers from Alabama and Georgia to keep him in the fold. As a freshman, the 6’1” 230 pounder played as an undersized defensive end out of necessity. Playing in 11 games, he had 27 tackles and half of a sack. As a sophomore he played in eight games, amassing 23 tackles, three and a half for loss, and an interception. As a junior, Allen-Williams broke out and began to show the kind of play-maker he could be. He totaled 75 tackles, eight and a half for loss, two sacks, and two interceptions.
As his senior season approached in 2017, he was looked at as one of the leaders on a veteran defense. In a little over two games of work, he had 10 tackles, three for loss, two sacks, and another interception. His biggest moment came when he picked off a Drew Lock pass to seal a win at Missouri. After the play, he ran to the sidelines to celebrate with his teammates and blew kisses to the crowd as they exited the stadium. He was on pace to have a brilliant senior season, then it was taken away from him. A shoulder injury the following week in a loss to Kentucky ended his 2017 campaign. Shortly after the surgery was announced, Allen-Williams made the decision to use a red-shirt and come back for a second chance at his senior year.
Second Chance Senior
During the off-season, Gamecock fans were buzzing about the return of Deebo Samuel from injury. The explosive wide receiver’s return was highly anticipated, leaving Allen-Williams slightly overlooked. While Samuel has come back to the offense and played well, it’s the linebacker’s return that has made the most difference so far in 2018. Allen-Williams has been all over the field through seven games this season. When defensive end D.J. Wonnum hurt his ankle in the first game, the Georgia native once again showed his versatility moving from linebacker to fill in. The Gamecocks will line him up in multiple spots, blitzing him off the edge or through gaps in the interior line.
His hot start to 2017 was ended by injury, but the senior kept that same aggressive mentality. He has been South Carolina’s best defender in 2018. He has 34 tackles, nine and a half for loss, and two sacks on the season. Once again, he will be remembered fondly for a big play and subsequent celebration against Missouri. As the Gamecocks made their come back in the third quarter, he chased down the punter who had fumbled the snap and brought him down for a big loss. He then utilized the monsoon-like conditions to slide 15-20 feet back to his teammates on the sideline. In a season where the team has been hampered by inconsistency, Allen-Williams has been as steady as they come. He brings his play-making ability and relentless energy to the field each time out.
South Carolina came off their bye week and got a big win over Tennessee this weekend. They now sit at 4-3 on the season. They have been a second-half team all season, and now look to translate that to the second half of their schedule. Allen-Williams has been making big plays in garnet and black for four years now. He is making the most of his second chance at a senior season. Now he and his teammates need to focus on finishing strong. If they can sustain some momentum they can finish strong and send their play-making senior out on a high note.