Move voids sophomore's remaining eligibility

Updated: February 26, 2004, 11:49 PM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Wide receiver Mike Williams will not be able to return to Southern California because he hired an agent.

Williams, an All-American sophomore, announced Wednesday he will enter April's NFL draft. He is the first underclassman to do so since the court case allowing Ohio State's Maurice Clarett into the draft.

The decision voided the NFL rule that barred players until they were out of high school for three years. The NFL then gave underclassmen and high school players until March 1 to declare, then three days after that to pull out.

But that can't happen for Williams because he has hired agent Mike Azzarelli of Tampa. Azzarell's other NFL clients include New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde, San Francisco cornerback Mike Rumph and Chicago kicker Paul Edinger.

Williams, 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds who is expected to be a high first-round pick, had two years of eligibility remaining for the defending national champion Trojans. He said after USC beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl that he planned to stay in school, but then came the Clarett ruling.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press