On Monday, it was reported by Bruce Feldman that Williams was expected to be hired on the USC coaching staff:
SOURCES: #Oregon CB coach Donte Williams is expected to become the new corners coach & Pass Game Coordinator at #USC, sources tell me and @AntonioCMorales. Williams was 247Sports' No. 7 ranked recruiter in the country this year. Big move by the Trojans staff and their new brass.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 10, 2020
Later that day, Williams confirmed the move with a heartfelt letter to the Oregon community.
This loss to Oregon's coaching staff hits on multiple levels.
OREGON BETTER BE READY FOR A REJUVENATED USC
USC just finished one of their worst recruiting classes of all time, finishing tenth in the Pac-12 which was worse than Oregon State. They needed to change and with their hire, they are.
Oregon should be ready for a dogfight for Los Angeles recruits. Their newfound success on the recruiting trail under Cristobal has included landing the top-rated recruit out of California for back-to-back classes: Kayvon Thibodeaux and Justin Flowe, and Cristobal has mentioned California being the Ducks' "home state."
That trend may no longer continue with the departure of Williams, who is not only the No. 1 recruiter in the Pac-12 Conference, but No. 7 in the nation. Injecting that type of energy into the Trojans' football program will make them a force to be reckoned with while Oregon tries to recruit elite talent out of southern California: USC's backyard.
Each player that heard the news Monday had glowing things to say about Williams. That type of love is real and he'll be able to do the same thing for USC.
Nothing but love for Coach Williams... he was easily one of my favorite coaches I've ever had✊🏼 He'll definitely be a HC one day
— Brady Breeze (@BradyBreeze) February 11, 2020
Much love coach you have always been a real one!! Best of luck to you and the family🤝 https://t.co/zlBVJvgALa
— Tyler Shough (@tylershough2) February 11, 2020
Appreciate you Coach, One of the realiest men ive ever been around🤝 Congrats Boss https://t.co/TJ4YZJHkDy
— Jordon Scott (@Fat_Mac34) February 11, 2020
Thank you for everything coach‼️ I got the same number so I'm expecting a text when you get settled in to big dog‼️✊🏽🤞🏽🖤 https://t.co/BYrDQXEpER
— Troy Dye (@Tdye15dbTroy) February 11, 2020
Five-star 2020 cornerback signee Dontae Manning cited that the then-Oregon cornerbacks coach was a leading reason for him choosing to enroll with Oregon. His only comment on the move has been that he won't be commenting.
I would appreciate if y'all stopped texting and calling my phone to ask questions. I'm not answering ANY questions.
— ².⁰ MANNING (@dontaemanning_8) February 11, 2020
As of now, the Ducks don't have any secondary players verbally committed in the 2021 recruiting class. Many of their targets had relationships with Williams that'll now be shifted towards USC which may hurt their class next season while propping up the Trojans. The Ducks ensure that each recruit has relationships with multiple assistant coaches so one coach leaving doesn't derail the recruitment but losing the top recruiter in the conference to USC may be too much to overcome.
Only time will tell.
WILLIAMS PRODUCED GREAT CORNERS
Oh, also did we mention that Williams can coach too?
Last season, the Ducks secondary was second in the nation with 20 interceptions and full of NFL talent: Thomas Graham Jr. and Deommodore Lenoir forwent the NFL Draft to return to Oregon, and sophomore Jevon Holland was rated as the best slot cornerback in the nation by Pro Football Focus. Freshman Mykael Wright also showed flashes of brilliance that will be improved upon.
The Ducks secondary should be just fine next season given the returning talent and arrival of elite recruits like Manning and Luke Hill. But for the Oregon secondary to stay elite for years to come, Cristobal needs to hit a home run with hiring Williams' replacement because not only can Oregon no longer rely on him, but they will be competing against him.