FAYETTEVILLE — Defensive end Tre Williams transferred to Arkansas for his senior season.
Williams played at Missouri, but actually had transferred to Houston for one semester. At Missouri from 2017-2020, Williams played in 42 games with 18 starts. He compiled 85 tackles, 14.5 for loss, 8.5 sacks, forced two fumbles and had 16 quarterback hurries. Following Wednesday’s practice, Williams talked about how he ended up at Arkansas with Markell Utsey, who also was at Missouri.
“My version of the story is I was at Houston, and the situation there just wasn’t a good fit for me,” Williams said. “So, I was looking for a new home. I saw Arkansas and looked at the depth and saw coach (Barry) Odom was here. They wanted me. Markell, I saw him in the portal and asked him where he wanted to go, and Arkansas happened to be a good fit for him.”
The Hogs lost three defensive linemen who saw action last year including starter Jonathan Marshall. With several returning linemen, Williams talked about the acceptance he got from the returning players.
“Aside from football, I have to realize that I’m coming into a place that I’m new.” Williams said. “I can’t come into someone else’s house and tell them what to do. But I can learn the system. So, learning the system with the D-line has been good. They’ve embraced me. I’ve been sharing my knowledge of the game, and they’ve been taking it in and using it at camp. You can really see it. These guys have a lot of tools too.”
Williams said he was at Houston for about three months and jumped at the chance to come to Arkansas.
“I mean I was happy,” Williams said. “I was ready to come. I was ready to just make my impact.”
In four seasons at Missouri, Williams was 4-0 against the Razorbacks. Any special feeling going to a school you played each season?
“It’s not really weird,” Williams said. “I’ve played against Ricky (Stromberg). I’ve played against a lot of guys on the line – Myron (Cunningham) already. So coming here it’s not really weird. They embraced me pretty well. With Coach Odom here and learning a new system that’s been well too, because Coach Odom is home.”
Stromberg is glad Williams is on Arkansas’ side this season.
“Tre, he’s a fast player,” Stromberg said. “He always uses his hands really well. He’s relentless. He’s super fast and he never quits. He’s got a really good spin move as well. He’s going to be a really good player for us this season.”
While Odom was the draw that helped get Williams to Arkansas, he also has a good relationship with Jermial Ashley on the defensive line.
“My relationship with Odom is still strong,” Williams said. “I go up there and I chop it up with him. I learn the defense and just kind of dissect the defense inside and out. Coach Ashley has been a really good mentor for me as well. I go talk to him and learn the defense. Just get different drills that I can learn and also self-teach the D-line too. So it’s been pretty good.”
Since this is his final season Williams talked about what he hopes to get done this fall.
“Really I’m just establishing myself as a pass rusher,” Williams said. “Not only a pass rusher, but a dominant end so coming into this season I’ve got to just do what I came here to do. Really be a dominant end and really state my presence out there. Really just encourage my teammates while I’m here.”
Williams is certainly pleased that final year is with Odom though.
“Just as dominant,” Williams said of Odom. “Just as aggressive with getting us prepared. He’s just always on a tip. He’s the same guy, same guy I met at Missouri, same guy that recruited me, same guy that brought me here. He’s all that. As far as getting us prepared, as far as keeping us on edge, as far as keeping us humble and keeping everybody ready to keep going and there’s more out there to get, yeah, Coach Odom is always keeping us on tip.”
Arkansas will return to the practice fields today.