For now, USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams is putting thoughts about the NFL aside. But the talented junior recognizes he'll face a decision about his football future this winter.
"It's a thought, of course, but it's definitely on the back burner," Williams said, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal. "I'm not really thinking about that for the meantime because my focus is just working on this season and chemistry with the new coaches and the players. At the end of the season, that will be something I start to think about."
The junior will be eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft after the season. If NFL scouts ultimately hold Williams in the same high regard that was shown for him in preseason accolades, his draft status will be plenty attractive. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks was more measured in an evaluation of Williams published earlier this summer. According to Brooks, Williams' moments of brilliance as a sophomore last season came more in "flashes" than down-in, down-out consistency. Former USC interim coach Ed Orgeron has said he expects Williams to be a first-round draft choice.
Williams said at Pac-12 Media Days that he expects to be used more on the edge of the Trojans' defense this season, which could set him up for more big plays.