Thursday, September 27, 2007
End Of The Line For Willie Williams
He was once the most heavily recruited high school linebacker in the country. But today former Carol City High School star Willie Williams has again thrown away a once promising college football career. Williams was arrested by Louisville police for possession of marijuana and has been dismissed from the University of Louisville football team.
Louisville was the second school to give Williams a chance. Williams had begun his college career at the University of Miami. During his senior year of high school, Williams was asked to write a diary for the Miami Herald to chronicle his recruiting visits. But while visiting the University of Florida, Williams was arrested and charged with setting off a fire extinguisher in a UF dorm building and hugging a girl against her will. While these seem like silly offenses. It later became public Williams had an extensive arrest record as a juvenile. He was arrested 11 times as a youth. His last arrest came in Pembroke Pines for stealing stereo equipment from a store before his senior year of high school.
Despite his huge rap sheet, colleges didn't shy away from recruiting Williams. He was the most dominant linebacker many longtime Dade County high school football observers had ever seen. In the 2003 Class 6A championship game, Williams made made 11 tackles including 4 behind the line of scrimmage and knocked out the opposing team's starting quarterback. Carol City was crowned state champs defeating Orlando Edgewater. That great performance only fueled the hunger of colleges like Auburn, FSU, UF and Miami to pursue Williams with scholarship offers.
In the end Williams chose to attend Miami. But as soon as he signed his letter of intent to play for UM, the Miami Herald came out with an article that exposed his juvenile arrest record. He quickly became the posterchild of the "thug" athlete. But to label Williams as a thug is not quite that simple. Williams was also an honors student and scored over 1,100 on his SATs. But his book smarts couldn't hide his reputation of bad behavior.
Despite Williams criminal history, UM stood behind im. UM President Donna Shalala had to written a letter to the university's distinguished alumni assuring them Williams would be under a zero tolerance policy and deserved a chance to turn his life around. Then UM head coach Larry Coker took a lot of criticism for sticking with Williams.
For a while it appeared Williams was on his way to cleaning up his act. During his two years at UM, he never had any off field problems or arrests. However, his lack of discipline did catch up with him on the practice field. Williams was labled as uncoachable and was not willing to learn or fit into Randy Shannon's defensive scheme. Williams found himself on the bench and only saw sparse action at UM. With his relationship with Shannon growing colder, Williams decided to leave UM. He spent last year at West Los Angeles Community College before transferring to Louisville.
At Louisville, Williams was given a new opportunity for a fresh start. The Louisville program was just coming off a Big East championship and a victory in the Fed Ex Orange Bowl. But again, Williams was unable to fit into Louisville defensive scheme. In high school Williams excelled using his freelance style of play. But in college he wasn't discipline enough to play within a system. His ability as a player was never questioned. But his desire to be coached and fit into a system never matched his physical ability. Williams found himself third string on Louisville's depth chart and barely played in the Cardinals first three games.
It appears Williams's college career is now over. He still has one year of eligibility left. But it's unlikely another school will put up with Williams behavior or his nasty reputation. He will go down as one of the biggest wastes of talent to come out of Dade County. Hopefully some of the young kids playing high school football can learn from Williams situation and use him as a role model of what not to do.