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Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Top 25 player countdown: No. 23

By Matt Fortuna

No. 23. Ishaq Williams, OLB

2011 numbers: Williams appeared in 11 games as a true freshman, recording six tackles, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hurry.

Making the case for Williams: As stated in the initial post, a big portion of this series has to do with college potential. And Williams has loads of it. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native was a four-star recruit from the Class of 2011, ranked by ESPN as the 42nd-best player in the country and as the nation's No. 7 defensive end. The addition of Williams was regarded at the time as the biggest for the Irish since that of Manti Te'o. After limited action as a freshman, Williams battled homesickness and went back to New York briefly in the winter, something coach Brian Kelly revealed this spring. Seeing plenty of more action in place of the injured Prince Shembo (turf toe), Williams bounced back with a strong spring, which concluded with an interception and a fumble recovery in the Blue-Gold game. Expect a big step for Williams in Year 2 in South Bend, Ind.