Williams Decides To Transfer To USC

ORLANDO, Fla. — Less than a month after getting his release from Arkansas, wide receiver Damian Williams has found a new school.

Coincidentally, he chose a team that he had played against in his first game with the Razorbacks.

Williams, the former Springdale High star, has decided to transfer to the University of Southern California, his father said Tuesday in a report posted on the Los Angeles Times' Web site.

According to the report, Williams is in the process of enrolling for the spring semester at USC. He will not be eligible to play next season because of NCAA rules regarding transfers.

"We let Damian make his own decision," David Williams told the Los Angeles Times. "We're concerned about his education, and we also want him to go where he develops to become the best player he can become."

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt, who granted Williams his release following one season with the Razorbacks, was unaware of Williams' decision when contacted Tuesday night by The Morning News. Nutt had no comment.

In his first game as a freshman, Williams led Arkansas with four catches for 61 yards — including a 42-yard reception — in a nationally televised 50-14 loss to USC on Sept. 2.

Williams finished the regular season as the Razorbacks' second leading receiver with 235 yards and two touchdowns on 19 catches. But despite starting five games, he expressed concern about the direction of the team's offense.

Williams' parents, along with tight end Ben Cleveland's father and quarterback Mitch Mustain's mother, had a meeting with Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles in early December to discuss their concerns.

The meeting became public, and Internet message boards and national sports talk radio shows took shots at Williams, Cleveland and Mustain, who as teammates helped lead Springdale High to a state championship last season.

Cleveland and Mustain decided to stay at Arkansas, but Williams surprised Nutt with his decision to transfer less than three weeks before No. 12 Arkansas faced No. 6 Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando.

Williams' father called Arkansas offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn on Dec. 13 and informed him that his son was transferring to another school. Nutt granted the freshman his release.

At least five Big 12 schools contacted Arkansas to express interest in Williams, who was considered one of the nation's most highly recruited wide receivers out of high school. But Williams has decided to go to the Pac-10, instead.

When contacted late last week, USC sports information director Tim Tessalone said he could not comment about the possibility of Williams transferring to the school.


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