Ole Miss edge rusher Sam Williams reinstated after legal charges against him were dropped
OXFORD — Ole Miss linebacker Sam Williams has been reinstated to football activities as of Tuesday after the legal charges against him were dropped.
Williams was suspended on July 25 after he was charged by Oxford police with sexual battery. Per a statement from the Ole Miss athletic department, that case is no longer active and Williams can resume team activity.
"With no pending charges, Sam Williams has returned to football activities," the statement reads. "We defer to his legal counsel on questions regarding his case.”
Williams led Ole Miss with six sacks in 2019. The senior from Alabama came to Ole Miss after leading all junior college players in sacks in 2018. Williams also finished with 9.5 tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries, one interception and one forced fumble last season.
"To my knowledge, Sam had been working out," Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said. "He'd not been working out with us because he was separated from all team activities. But we did see him a little bit. We worked him in yesterday. Obviously he's got a ways to go but you can see flashes of why he's shown to be a really good player at times."
While Williams was absent, Ole Miss didn't have any returning edge rushers or defensive linemen who started on last year's team. The Rebels need to replace defensive linemen Benito Jones, Josiah Coatney and Austrian Robinson as well as edge rushers Qaadir Sheppard and Charles Wiley.
Alongside Williams, Ole Miss also has redshirt freshman Brandon Mack and Canadian transfer Tavius Robinson. Both of those players had been working at Williams' position while he was suspended.
Any amount of added depth will be welcomed for the Ole Miss defense. Kiffin said Tuesday that his team had 27 players miss their scrimmage Saturday because of either injuries or COVID-19 issues. Ole Miss' depth concerns are so stark that Kiffin said he'll begin cross training offensive skill players on defense and vice versa in case further issues arise.
Ole Miss is scheduled to begin its 2020 football season on Sept. 26 with a home game against No. 8 Florida. The game is set to begin at 11:00 a.m. and will be televised on ESPN.
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