I wrote earlier this year about the sad story of Willie Williams, the former number one recruit on his last chance. His name popped up on the Internet again this week when Rivals.com did a mid-season check in with Willie. It appears that things are going very well for him. I wanted to take the opportunity to share with everyone Willie’s original recruiting diary:
Florida State: I ordered a steak and a lobster tail. The lobster tail was like $49.99. I couldn’t believe something so little could cost so much. The steak didn’t even have a price. The menu said something about market value. I was kind of embarrassed so I didn’t order a lot. ‘But then I saw what the other guys were ordering, I was like, `Forget this.’ I called the waiter back and told him to bring me four lobster tails, two steaks and a Shrimp Scampi. It was good. I took two boxes back with me to the hotel.”
They had jerseys with our names on it. They even had my No. 17. I told them `Isn’t that number retired for [Heisman winner] Charlie Ward? Coach [Bobby] Bowden was like, `For you Willie, we’ll bring it back.”
Miami:Following the campus visit, the recruits boarded a bus with the coaching staff and headed for the Orange Bowl … ”We’d get to a red light and I would hold on because the bus driver would just take it,” he said. ‘I was thinking the bus driver was crazy. Coach Coker was like, `Willie, we’ve got police escorts.'”
Auburn: ”The girls at the party were much better than the farmer girls we’d see all day around campus,” Williams said. “I was kind of worried all Auburn had to offer was those farmer girls that talked funny. But the girls at the party weren’t farmer girls at all. I thought they must have bused them in from Miami.”
Florida: ”I ate so many meatballs, the people there started looking like meatballs … ‘The first night I was OK with eating at the stadium. But when they told me we’re going to eat there again, I was a little disappointed. I was like, `Take us to Red Lobster or something.’ That’s when I pretty much made up my mind. I can’t live in a place that don’t have any restaurants. What am I going to do – fly home to eat shrimp?”
After looking at the most superficial aspect of each visit Willie now realizes what he should have done from the very start.
“I think the expectations were unrealistic,” says Larry Coker, who was Miami’s coach when Williams signed. “The hometown people thought he’d come in from Day One and just be a superstar, but we had really good linebackers at the time. It was a situation where he would have been a really good player, but he would have had to put his time in and get better.”
The media wondered when he’d start living up to his brash talk. Williams’ mother also remembered how friends would wait for him after practice and prevent him from acclimating to college life.
“There were a lot of distractions with me being born and raised there and having just come out of high school,” Williams says. “They just weren’t getting 100 percent focus from me. I was just thinking, ‘Let me go somewhere else.’ ”
Williams’ mom admits Willie never should have gone to Miami in the first place.
“I grew up in Miami myself and all of his family grew up there,” Donna Williams says. “Basically, we were a part of being caught up in the Hurricanes, the UM swagger and hype. We all had blinders on, not knowing that maybe even this type of defense wasn’t the best scheme. We weren’t going in with open eyes and looking at the future.”
At NCSA we preach to athletes everyday about the importance of finding the right fit. that is why our Recruit-Match Database matches athletes on a variety of actor including geographic areas of interest, majors available, grade requirements and of course athletic ability. I encourage every potential recruit to look through the superficial top layer of a school and focus on making the RIGHT CHOICE.