Community college denies ousted Miami LB
Pearl River [Miss.] Community College has decided not to admit former Miami linebacker Willie Williams, three days after the two-year junior college in Poplarsville, Miss., said it would allow the oft- troubled player to join its football team. Wildcats coach Tim Hatten confirmed the school's decision on Wednesday night.
Williams, who was ranked among the country's top high school football prospects in 2004, was admitted to Miami despite being arrested 11 times as a juvenile. During an official visit to Florida in January 2004, Williams was charged with a felony count of setting off a fire extinguisher in a hotel and a misdemeanor battery charge for hugging a woman without consent. He pleaded no contest and was placed on probation until February 2007.
"We had some constraints that came about," Hatten said. "He visited with us for three days and he went home. We had some issues that we said had to be taken care of before he came here. Some of the things he couldn't control. Willie didn't do anything wrong. We just can't make a move on him. It's a little late in the game and we're trying to get ready to play football."
Despite staying out of trouble at Miami, Williams had fallen out of favor with the Hurricanes coaching staff and was a third-team linebacker entering the preseason. Williams missed most of spring practice with a stomach virus, and the Miami Herald reported he was the only Hurricanes player to miss most of the team's voluntary offseason workouts.
Last month, Williams asked Miami coach Larry Coker to release him from his scholarship.
Williams, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound sophomore, reportedly contacted coaches at Louisville, West Virginia and Troy about transferring, but all three teams said they weren't interested.
Hatten said he didn't know what Williams' plans were, but the Wildcats coach said he advised Williams to try and return to Miami.
"I don't know why you'd leave there in the first place," Hatten said. "He's a great player and I couldn't think of a better place to be than the University of Miami."
Mark Schlabach covers college football and men's college basketball for ESPN.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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