- Heather Dinich, ESPN Staff Writer
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Duke cornerback Johnny Williams is a fan of YouTube, and it has become a supplemental version of film study to help him make his transition from wide receiver to cornerback this spring.
Williams has been watching NFL corners to pick up some tips and techniques since he hasn’t played the position since high school, but so far, so good.
“I think it was a great move,” Williams said. “Me and Coach Cut [David Cutcliffe] talked about it for a while. I just think that going to corner would be a great move for me and the team. I played it in high school, so it’s not that big of a change from high school to college. It’s a big difference, but from me knowing things offensively, it’s going to really help me out.”
It should also help out the Blue Devils, who need a boost in the secondary. While Duke is stocked at the wide receiver position, the Blue Devils have to replace safety Catron Gainey, who had 84 tackles last year, and cornerback Leon Wright, who had five interceptions. Williams caught 61 passes for 712 yards over the past two seasons, but Duke returns three wide receivers who each had at least 50 catches last year.
“We’ll see how Johnny does,” Cutcliffe said. “He’s a starter on Day 1 as a corner. We can be more athletic and deeper there. We redshirted a lot of young men there, so I’m real excited about some competition at all of the positions in the secondary.”
There is still the possibility that Williams could help out the offense on occasion, but for now, he’s concentrating on stopping his former friends on offense.
“Conner [Vernon] always comes out and says, ‘We better get another DB out here, because Johnny never played this position,’” Williams said. “I laugh about that, but it’s competition, and they’re making me better.”