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CFF Series - Hotty Toddy's got another one...
The Ole Miss superstar FRESHMAN in the making is primed for an immediate impact in year one
To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.
- William Faulkner, writer
When I used to work at the central bank here in Canada, I used to receive emails on a subscriber list (kind of like a Substack…) from another economist who’s last name was ‘Kiffmeister’. Whenever his emails would grace my inbox, I couldn’t help but think of my man Lane Kiffin, and often pretended that it was actually Lane, under the alias ‘Kiffmeister’ who — for some reason — was sending out these newsletters on central bank updates to us economists in his spare time. It was simply more amusing that way.
The reality, however, needs no exaggeration to be amusing. Ole Miss head coach Lane ‘Kiffmeister’ Kiffin is quite the character (as anyone who follows him on Twitter/X knows). In addition to being a good follow on the bird app, Kiffin has shown himself to be somewhat of an offensive savant in the realm of CFB. The WR position, in particular, has been lucrative for CFF players in the past.
Now, anybody who knows me knows that I’m generally pessimistic about true freshman and their impacts in year one. They very rarely get on the field, let alone live up to the hype bestowed upon them, and the top ones usually still cost a pretty penny in re-draft capital. But what if there was a true freshman available who might actually be on the field a lot this season, and didn’t cost much? (and by much I mean he probably didn’t get drafted in your CFF leagues).
Today’s player—WR Ayden Williams, is a former high four star recruit out of the great state of Mississippi. Individually, he represents a massive win on the trail for the Rebels, as programs such as UGA recruited him hard. In fact, he reminds me of a former Bulldog himself—current NFL’er George Pickens. They’ve got similar builds, at least, we’ll see about the skills.
Coaching & System
The Kiffmeister joined the program in 2020, taking over for then-head coach Matt Luke, who at least left Kiff a decent roster of talent to take over. Prior to joining on with the Rebels, Kiff coached briefly at FAU (2017-2019), and OC’d Alabama from 2014 to 2016. His time at Alabama was an extremely successful bounce back after he flamed out at USC after just four seasons as head coach (2010-13).
His right-hand man—OC John David Baker, joined the Rebels in 2021 as the Passing Game Coordinator and TEs coach. In 2022, he was promoted to Co-Offensive Coordinator. Before joining Lane’s staff, Baker served as the TEs coach at USC (2020) and Offensive Quality Control (2019).
Since joining the Rebels, Kiffmeister’s WR1 has averaged 74 receptions, 1064 yards, and seven TDs per season. That’s an average of approximately 17 FPG in 1-ppr formats across 13 games (Ole Miss usually makes a bowl game). Of the three seasons he’s been here, Kiffin’s offences have produced two different 1000-yard WRs in Dontario Drummond and Elijah Moore.
At FAU, remarkably, Kiffin had zero 1000-yard WRs, but did have a player break that mark in TE Harrison Bryant. These teams were typically more run-oriented, with Devin Singletary achieving all VP-Honors in back-to-back seasons in 2017 and 2018.
While at Alabama, Kiffin’s offences produced two 1000-yard WRs in three seasons, including the monster performance that was Amari Cooper’s 2014 season (124 receptions, 1727 yards and 16 TDs).
Clearly, the Kiff man knows how to get his best WRs the ball early and often. And is it that far out of the realm of possibility that our man Williams isn’t the best WR on the roster at this very moment?
WR Ayden Williams — 6’3, 190
Not that I’m a superstitious man, but I do always feel that the skill player who acquires the #1 jersey is in for a good year. Williams has acquired this illustrious number, of which the likes of Jonathan Mingo, AJ Brown, and LaQuon Treadwell donned before him—and he got it as a true freshman, no less. My my my… this kid could be special.
His high school coach certainly seems to think so:
Ayden is a kid with NFL talent . . . The thing about the past 10 or 12 years, receivers in this state have become more advanced and I think Ayden is one of those kids who soaked all that in. He did the extra work and all those things in order to excel at the next level. I think as a true freshman, he’ll play a major role and might be a starter because of his potential. Consistency will be key for him whether he’s a day one or rotational guy.
More importantly, his current coach—the aforementioned Kiffmeister, had this to say recently:
Ayden looked really good . . . Obviously was a great high school player, but you never know until you get them . . . he looked really special and unique out there.
The latest word is that Williams is expected to be an impact freshman for the Rebels. Now, what that actually looks like in application, we’ll have to wait and see. Will he be the WR version of Quinshon Judkins? Probably not, but it’s actually not that out of the question.
Ole Miss’ top two receivers from a year ago vacate over 1800 receiving yards in Malik Heath and Jonathan Mingo, so Williams has a phenomenal opportunity to break out—especially given UTSA transfer Zakhari Franklin’s recent injury. Williams has been described as a versatile player, who could play in the slot, even at 6’3”.
As far as his immediate impact in year one of CFF, it’s difficult to make a definitive statement so early on, but given the uncertainty of the room there is a path to CFF relevancy in year one. Him having a year like George Pickens’ freshman season at UGA would not surprise me.
In dynasty, I think this has got to be a player that is circled, when you look at Lane Kiffin’s track record at WR and the noise Williams is making already. It would appear to be a match made in heaven.
In C2C formats, Williams’ ADP according to Campus2Canton is 237, which is about the 19th round in 12-team formats. In standard CFF re-drafts, he currently has no ADP. Unless it was a very deep league, I probably wouldn’t draft him in a re-draft format, but he’s definitely one I’d watch for in the early parts of the season as a potential waiver addition.
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