Tennessee's Williams cleared to play for Vols in '08

Updated: August 29, 2008, 7:31 PM ET
Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Southeastern Conference has cleared Tennessee linebacker Gerald Williams to play this season.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder from Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., will travel with the team to play at UCLA on Monday, though coach Phillip Fulmer said he may not see much playing time in the game aside from some special teams assignments.

Williams signed with the Vols in 2005, but was denied eligibility by the NCAA just before the season began after problems with some of his high school credits.

"It's wonderful to have him out there. He's worked so hard to get himself here," Fulmer said.

He played at Hargrave Military Academy prep school during the 2006 season and City College of San Francisco during 2007.

Williams was already cleared by the NCAA and enrolled at Tennessee. SEC rules require extra credits, and Williams had to prove that a math course he recently took met those requirements.

Williams participated in the Vols' preseason camp, but hadn't practiced with the team in several days as he awaited word on the SEC's final decision.

Coaches informed him of his eligibility during a team meeting Friday morning, and his teammates gave him a standing ovation.

"Now he's just got to prove his merit," Fulmer said.

The team announced Friday that two signees were not cleared to play this season. Montori Hughes, a defensive tackle from Murfreesboro, and Marlon Walls, a linebacker from Olive Branch, Miss., will instead attend prep school at least until January.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press