SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
7/19/2006 02:33:00 PM
We Don't Want You, Willie
Willie Williams' career may be falling apart.
It seems former all-world recruit/convicted felon Willie Williams, who's been seeking a transfer from Miami because the 'Canes have yet to automatically turn over one of their starting linebacker positions to him, isn't garnering as many suitors as he might have thought. Two schools reported to be at the top of his list, West Virginia and Tennessee, have publicly declined interest. You know a guy's got serious issues when Tennessee won't even take him.
Williams is the latest and arguably most visible example of some of the negative consequences created by our ever-increasing fascination with the recruiting world. As you may recall, Williams was the guy whose Miami Herald diary entries about his extravagant campus visits -- steak and lobster in Tallahassee, cheerleaders chanting his name at Auburn, etc. -- prompted the NCAA to invoke restrictions on such things. But taking a 17-year-old kid to Morton's isn't the problem here. The way recruits are fawned over by coaches, recruiting writers and fans from the time they first become known, it’s often a shock to their system when they finally get to school and find out they actually have to put in work.
Anyone who's ever spent time around Williams marvels about what a great kid he is, how he's actually very bright, how he's been misunderstood. That may all well be true. But word around the Miami program is Williams, the nation's top-rated linebacker in 2004, expected stardom to be handed to him on a platter. After failing to pass up returning starter Jon Beason on the depth chart this spring, Williams stopped showing up for voluntary workouts. Now he apparently wants out, which is actually fairly stupid considering he's already used up his redshirt year and would lose a season of eligibility by transferring. He might as well use that season at Miami getting more experience and putting himself in position to win a starting job next season.
Again with the small jabs to Tennessee...kick a man while he's down will ya? Tennessee does discipline people who are actual problems (Schaeffer, Banks, Washington dismissals - Mitchell and Cooter's suspensions).
It'll be interesting to see which coach/program will take yet another chance on Willie. I'd venture to guess it'll be a team who is off the national radar.
I'd say I'm surprised about his lack of loyalty to the Hurricanes. They really stuck their necks out, and this is how he repaid them. Even if I was a program off the national radar, I wouldn't want to have anything to do with him.
You need to get your blog entries added to your rss feed. Then you'd really be caught up with technology.
Any program that takes in Williams has to think about having a guy with his history sitting out games for a year on their campus. Since he hasn't shown production on the field yet, who would take that risk?
Is this a lighter, more loose Mandel? I'm not saying that you're stodgy by any means, but the dig on Tennessee seemed like it wouldn't have normally shown up like that in a standard colum. Still pretty funny...
Give me a break, Mandel. Stop labeling Tennessee's program as a renegade program. Sure, we've had a few problems, but none any moreso than places like Georgia. Ours is just brought to light by yourself and others because we had a down year last year. We'll be back this fall, and everybody will be eating their words.
Spoken in a mock baby voice: "I'm sure someone will take in poor, wittle, misunderstood Willie Baby."
Seriously, regardless of talent or stats, who wants a prima donna on their team? I've had to deal with them in the past, and they make me want to run shrieking from the room. They're impossible to deal with, and would try the patience of a saint. Willie can kiss his dreams of stardom goodbye. And good riddance!
As a Cane, I bid this guy good riddance. I've defended him (and the Canes for choosing him) for the last two years, hoping he'd mature and rise up and fulfill his potential. He's proven to be a high maintenance punk in the vein of T.O. (without the production). He'd of been far better off, working his a*s off this fall and this season and fighting for that starting position next season rather than skipping spring and summer workouts and trying to find a new home just because the Canes are making him work for his job. Damage has been done. Side note: #17 replica jersey for sale- never worn.
Hey Stew, Despite your perception, Tennessee actually has a record of dismissing troubled players that other programs then accept with open arms (Onterrio Smith to Oregon, Lynn McGruder to Oklahoma, Montrell Jones to Louisville, etc.). Can you name one troubled player that Tennessee has accepted from another school? Thanks.
OK, Stew, for the Tennessee jab, you owe big time (or should I say Big Orange). For pennance, either replace your header pic with one of Smokey for the next week, or make a tandem skydive with video and post it for all to see. What say you readers? Do you want to look at a blue tick hound or watch Stewart jump out of a perfectly good airplane? Jam his Inbox with your preference. I vote for the skydive!
Since the majority of top recruits only view college as a stepping stone to the NFL (although very few even get a shot) I wonder if top recruits might start going to schools that need more talent, so they have a better chance of playing immediately. You certainly don't have to be on TV every week to be noticed by pro scouts.