Jump to content

Spinache dip Willie at WLAC

DKW 86

Recommended Posts


Williams Has Some 'Yards to Go' at West L.A.

College's president says he wants to be sure all regulations are met before former Miami player can join team.

By Ben Bolch, Times Staff Writer

August 25, 2006

Willie Williams was back on the football field Thursday, working out with players he hopes will be his new teammates, only hours after the president of West Los Angeles College cautioned that the former national blue-chip recruit had "some good yards to go" before he was an official member of the team.

The former University of Miami linebacker, who made headlines shortly after signing with the Hurricanes when it was discovered he had a criminal record that included 11 arrests, is seeking a new team as he attempts to revive a stalled career.

Williams, 21, has enrolled in a physical education class at West L.A., the first official step toward playing for the Oilers this fall. He still must have his transcripts verified and pay $2,200 in out-of-state fees before he is considered a full-time student and can be cleared to participate in games, West L.A. officials said.

"The issue for us is not whether Mr. Williams plays football for us or not," West L.A. President Mark Rocha said. "The issue is making sure we're compliant with all the regulations and are running a clean program.

"Whether we win or lose, we are going to run a clean program. He was treated and is being treated like any other student who applies to our college."

Community colleges have been dogged by a perception that they run renegade, win-at-all-costs athletic programs — a view supported recently by the arrests of two Reedley College football players on suspicion of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.

The extent of Williams' wrongdoing, which included several instances of petty theft and one felony case of stealing stereo equipment from an electronics store, might have never been fully revealed had Williams not violated his probation during a recruiting visit to the University of Florida only days before he signed with Miami.

Williams set off three fire extinguishers in a hotel, hugged a female student he did not know and punched a man at a nightclub. Those incidents prompted the media to unearth previous criminal conduct and a Broward County judge to sentence the player to three years' probation.

Williams' Miami attorney, Paul Lazarus, emphasized that his client has stayed out of trouble since starting college and last week had his probation terminated six months early for good behavior.

"I think he's a good kid," Lazarus said by telephone. "He's bright, he's never had a problem scholastically. He was just very young and made some serious mistakes."

Lazarus attributed Williams' repeated legal scrapes to a troubled childhood in which his father died and he had difficulty getting along with his stepfather, forcing him to live with various high school classmates.

"He was in a bad situation, and I think he has overcome it," Lazarus said. "The stuff that happened in Gainesville was nothing more than high school or college high jinks."

At Miami, Williams, who is 6 feet 3, 235 pounds, never became an impact player. He redshirted his freshman year after suffering a knee injury and made only 17 tackles in 10 games last season as a second-stringer, triggering his search for a new school and a more prominent role.

"He wasn't any different than most of the other guys who felt like they should be playing," said Vernon Hargreaves, who was Williams' position coach at Miami and now coaches the linebackers at Florida International. "I told him we would put him on the field when he knew exactly what he should do, and he started to get better. I would have loved to have seen him stick it out and try to make it work."

Williams appeared set to play for Pearl River (Miss.) Community College until the situation unraveled last week.

"He failed to reach some stipulations we set, and I'll just leave it at that," Pearl River Coach Tim Hatten told the Biloxi (Miss.) Sun Herald.

Neither Lazarus nor Rocha said he knew why Williams chose West L.A., where Warren Moon and Keyshawn Johnson once played before starring in the NFL. Rocha on Thursday barred the media from speaking with Oilers Coach Craig Austin and Williams, saying that he would act as spokesman in matters related to the transfer.

Austin, a longtime L.A. County sheriff, has vowed to monitor Williams closely, Rocha said. "Coach Austin has stated directly to me his personal and professional commitment to see that Mr. Williams is successful both as a student and an athlete," Rocha said.

West L.A., which went 1-9 last season and tied for last place in the Southern Division of the Western State Conference, opens its season Sept. 2 at Palomar. Williams could play one season with the Oilers and transfer back to a Division I school next fall or make himself eligible for the NFL draft in April.

"From my standpoint, he should just be left alone," Lazarus said. "If he does as well as expected or gets in trouble again, then it becomes newsworthy. I expect him to play well and not get in trouble again."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He could have signed on with a certain SEC "school" and he could have enjoyed ICE CREAM with his "dip".

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Members Online

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...