Former Miami LB Williams enrolls at West Los Angeles

Updated: August 23, 2006, 1:13 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former Miami linebacker Willie Williams has enrolled at West Los Angeles College of the Western State Conference and has been cleared to play this season, coach Craig Austin told ESPN's Joe Schad on Tuesday.

Austin is a Los Angeles County Sheriff and has pledged to personally monitor Williams, whose stepfather Leonard Pressley will move from Miami to Los Angeles as well. Williams is on campus and ready to attend classes.

"I'm a guy that cares about the community and gives back, in part, by coaching this football team," Austin said. "Willie's dad was very diligent in his research. I have a very strict disciplinarian policy and Willie will be under the same guidance that everybody else is. He will adhere to team rules. You know, he is more hospitable and polite than most of the guys here right now. And he's got some God-fearing, loving parents who are concerned."

Williams had been placed on probation but was rewarded for good behavior and had that probation terminated Friday, six months early, his attorney said.

Williams had been serving 36 months' probation after pleading no contest to a felony and a misdemeanor charge stemming from a recruiting visit to the University of Florida, his attorney Paul Lazarus said.

He faced a misdemeanor battery charge for allegedly hugging a woman without consent and a felony charge of setting off fire extinguishers at his hotel. His probation was scheduled to end in February.

Austin said that a West Los Angeles College assistant had spoken with a Miami assistant, who described the linebacker as a "model citizen." As for his football ability, Austin said of Williams: "This is a premier linebacker who can be unblockable."

Austin, though in his first season at West Los Angeles College, was once offensive coordinator at Santa Monica College, where he called plays for a team that featured current NFL standouts Chad Johnson and Steve Smith. Austin, who said he now supervises 35 deputy sheriffs, said West Los Angeles College has been home for players like Keyshawn Johnson and Warren Moon.

As for Williams, Austin said: "Willie told me that he loves football and wants to help this team win. He's a great student. He's committed to education. And we're very excited to have him here with us."

Williams' trouble with the law became public in February 2004 when his record of 11 arrests was revealed on the same day he signed a letter of intent with the Hurricanes.

He was allowed to enroll at Miami, provided he adhered to strict academic and off-field ground rules. But he never became a starter with the Hurricanes, which prompted his search for a new school.

Earlier this week, Williams intended to enroll at Pearl River Community College in Mississippi, but that plan went awry days later -- leaving him without a team.

The Assocated Press contributed to this report

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