AUBURN, Ala. – Vontrell King-Williams has been named defensive tackles coach at Auburn, head coach Hugh Freeze announced Friday. King-Williams served as a defensive line analyst for Auburn this past season and previously worked on Freeze’s staff at Liberty.
The completion of Auburn’s defensive staff also includes various position assignments. Defensive coordinator DJ Durkin will oversee linebackers, co-defensive coordinator Charles Kelly will coach safeties, while Wesley McGriff will direct the cornerbacks and Josh Aldridge will move to coaching the defensive edge unit.
“I’m super grateful for the opportunity given to me by Coach Freeze and Coach Durkin,” King-Williams said. “I believe in what we are building here at Auburn and can’t wait to continue to positively impact the lives of our student-athletes. War Eagle!”
While at Auburn this past season, King-Williams assisted with a defensive line unit that produced first-team All-SEC product Marcus Harris, who led the Tigers with seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Prior to joining Auburn, King-Williams was the defensive tackles coach at Eastern Michigan University for a year after serving as a defensive graduate assistant at Liberty for two seasons.
“Vontrell is an incredibly hard worker, passionate about his craft, and earned the respect of his players during his time with me at Auburn and Liberty,” Freeze said. “He has a tremendous upside and reminds me of the likes of Jeremy Garrett, Tray Scott and Freddie Roach, who have all worked for me early in their careers.”
While at Liberty, the Flames won an incredible 18 games including becoming one of just five FBS teams to win a bowl game each of the last three seasons (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana).
In 2021, Liberty’s defense ranked 14th nationally in tackles-for-loss at 7.2 per game, while finishing 28th nationally with 2.85 sacks per contest. The Flames were also 11th in the FBS in redzone defense allowing just 22 touchdowns in 40 trips inside the 20-yard-line.
Overall, 14 Liberty student-athletes tallied a sack to go along with 27 notching a TFL.
The 2020 season was the best in school history for the Flames, after finishing the year ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the Coaches Poll. Both national rankings were the highest ever in program history. The finish also marked the first time Liberty had concluded a season ranked in the final national polls of the year.
The Flames finished the season with a 10-1 record, tying the program’s record for wins in a season. Liberty had a season of “firsts” in 2020, including the team’s first-ever national ranking, first win over an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opponent, the best start in school history (8-0), first-ever win over a top-25 FBS program, and back-to-back bowl game wins.
Liberty finished the 2020 season ranked No. 11 in the country in total defense (317.7 yards allowed per game), No. 12 in passing yards allowed (184.0 per game), and No. 22 in scoring defense (20.5 points allowed per game).
Furthermore, King-Williams helped mold four Liberty defensive players that signed NFL free agent contracts after the 2020 NFL Draft.
Before arriving at Liberty, he was a graduate assistant coach at EMU for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. In addition to helping with defense, he aided in the development of the team’s recruiting efforts.
In 2019, Eastern played in a postseason bowl for the third time in the last four seasons, and for the fifth time in school history when it played in Quick Lane Bowl. It was also the first time in program history that EMU played in the postseason in consecutive campaigns.
In 2018, EMU had a dynamite pass defense that ranked 10th overall in passing efficiency defense while holding opponents to a 55 percent completion rate. Eastern rushed the passer without blitzing, as ends Maxx Crosby and Jeremiah Harris combined for 12.5 sacks and 26.5 tackles-for-loss. Crosby, who was a fourth-round pick by the Oakland Raiders in the 2019 NFL Draft, ranked seventh in the FBS in TFLs and 42nd in sacks.
EMU was exceptionally stingy late in the year, as the defense only allowed three offensive touchdowns over the final 16 quarters of the season. Moreover, Eastern was ranked 10th nationally for the fewest second-half points allowed at just 8.7 per game.
King-Williams got started in coaching in 2017 as a defensive line intern at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).
He transferred to UTSA for his final two seasons of college football (2015-16). As a defensive tackle for current EMU Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Neal Neathery, King-Williams played in 25 career games, recording 17 tackles and one pass deflection.
A native of Chicago, Ill., King-Williams transferred to UTSA after playing at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan. in 2014. He began his collegiate career at the University of Illinois in 2013 where he was a three-star recruit by Rivals.com.
King-Williams earned his bachelor’s degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from UTSA in 2016.
VONTRELL KING-WILLIAMS QUOTE
“I’m super grateful for the opportunity given to me by Coach Freeze and Coach Durkin. I believe in what we are building here at Auburn and can’t wait to continue to positively impact the lives of our student-athletes. War Eagle!”
HUGH FREEZE QUOTE
“Vontrell is an incredibly hard worker, passionate about his craft, and earned the respect of his players during his time with me at Auburn and Liberty. He has a tremendous upside and reminds me of the likes of Jeremy Garrett, Tray Scott and Freddie Roach, who have all worked for me early in their careers.”