Fellow Trojans Describe Marcelles Williams As “Fantastic”

USC DB Marcelles Williams not looking like a freshman

The upstart cornerback is a constant reminder of his older brother and former Trojan Max Williams

St. John Bosco’s Marcelles Williams announces he will attend USC during the National Signing Day event Dec. 20, 2023, in Bellflower. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)
St. John Bosco’s Marcelles Williams announces he’s USC-bound during National Signing Day on Dec. 20, 2023, in Bellflower. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

Aaron Heisen (OC Register)  —  For brief instances, Lincoln Riley has to remind himself that the feeling is really just déjà vu.

That defensive back Max Williams has, in fact, played his final snap for the Trojans. And that this freshman, with the same last name, the same first initial, is a Trojan.

Cut Riley some slack, because frosh CB Marcelles Williams (5-10, 182; now wears 25) mimics a number of his older brother’s mannerisms. He and Max share facial expressions. Neither carries an arrogant bone in his body. And both, Riley said, are quality kids who, in Max’s case, left an impact on the program; and in Marcelles’, is well on his way to doing the same.

“He’s a confident kid,” Riley said about Marcelles Williams. “He’s been around this program a lot, and I think that’s helped him to come in, not really wide-eyed and just ready to compete. From his family history, I think there’s probably an understanding of what it really takes at this level. I don’t think he’s shocked by that.”

Within 13 spring practices, Marcelles Williams, who graduated from St. John Bosco in the winter and enrolled at USC, has turned the heads of teammates and coaches, positioning himself for a real shot at playing time come September.

The coaching staff has taken a liking to him, his father Maxzell told the Southern California News Group. In an offseason in which USC is remodeling its defense, Marcelles has been able to quickly acclimate.

Marcelles Williams watched his older brother play for the Trojans for five years, starting 24 games over his last two seasons. Now the freshman is benefitting from his brother’s advice on how to navigate day-to-day life at USC.

On Nov. 24, he played in the CIF-SS Division I Football Championship in the Coliseum when St. John Bosco took on Mater Dei. One week later, another cardinal-and-gold domino had fallen into place.

“Coach (D’Anton) Lynn expressed how much he really wanted to coach Marcelles,” his father told the SCNG. “(Marcelles) was being recruited by UCLA. When Coach Lynn got there, they started putting together a really solid relationship.”

The two kept in touch during Lynn’s one season at UCLA. Then on Dec. 1, USC hired Lynn as its defensive coordinator. Marcelles Williams signed his National letter of Intent to join the Trojans on Dec. 20.

Since then, Lynn has helped usher in a wholesale makeover on the Trojans’ defense, in large part by bringing in top talent. Count Marcelles as one of those devotees.

Before ultimately choosing USC, he impressed coaches along the recruiting trail with his verbiage and knowledge regarding the minutiae of collegiate defenses.

That wherewithal, Maxzell said, is a product of playing at Bosco, which tends to employ defenses based on looks from the University of Georgia, Alabama, Clemson and other D-I programs.

As a Trojan, the freshman commands the staff’s attention because he’s technically sound, cerebral and can hang with the starting receivers.

Marcelles Williams, he’s been fantastic,” wide receiver Duce Robinson said April 2.

His immediate progress has even surprised his father, who receives texts from his son with updates after each spring practice. He’s also in a group chat with other USC football parents, which, on Saturday, acted as a source for sharing Marcelles’ highlight.

“One of the parents was like, ‘Celles got another pick today,’” Maxzell said.

Riley, too, noted Williams’ interception that bookended USC’s scrimmage. It wasn’t his first of the spring.

“He’s been unusually consistent for a true freshman,” Riley said. “His bad plays aren’t that bad. And then on top of that, he’s made some outstanding plays.”

Maxzell proceeded to text Marcelles, asking about the play. The response from his son was short and sweet.

“He doesn’t really get overly excited,” Maxzell said. “He studies the game well, and he’s not a ‘rah-rah, me-me’ guy. He’s like a head-down, grind-hard type of player.”



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Noble Genius
April 14, 2024 6:10 pm

When you hear players raving about one of their own players you know you have a real gem.Players don’t give the required platitudes like coaches wanting to keep players do. When Moss raves about a DB, I have to say that is a great endorsement.

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