Willie Williams Hoping To Play

Despite playing in a postseason all-star game that typically officially ends one's prep football career in Dade County, linebacker Willie Williams is appealing his case to the state. The talented linebacker was hit by a car as a freshman, which caused him to miss too many days of school. The result was having to redo ninth grade.

"They told me I missed too many days so I had to flunk the 9th grade," Williams said. "I'm waiting to hear back from the state. I think it's looking good but they're on summer break right now. I'll know before the season starts for sure."

Williams will be entering into his fifth year of high school this year at Carol City High School after transferring in from Monsignor Pace. Williams hopes his appeal comes through.

"I really hope it works because I'm ready to start ballin again," he said. "I just want a chance to start playing again. Because of my situation, I had to sit out the spring and everything. I'm not really doing much with my teammates but as soon as I get cleared, I'll be ready."

Williams said he's glad he wont get a midseason ruling like Bryan Pata received last October.

"They pretty much took his senior year away," he said. "He had worked real hard with his team and everything too. At least I'll know right from the start whether I'm good or not."

The talented linebacker has been attending lots of camps in recent months to get his football fix.

"Even though I can't play, I can still go to the camps and everything," he said. "I went to the NIKE Camp at UM, then the Rutgers camp here last week, and then I went to Florida's camp over the weekend. I'll be hittin up the UM camp this weekend. I'm just trying to do my thing, you know -- show people what I got."

What Williams has is a 6-2, 228-pound frame with excellent speed, quickness, strength, and instincts.

"I'm up to about 228 right now," he said. "I've been working out twice a day in the weightroom and running during the days. I'm trying to stay in shape. I have my 40-time down in the 4.4 area and I'm doing about 370 on the bench now."

Williams used those skills and instincts to dominate as a junior last season at Pace. He finished his junior campaign with 173 tackles, 10 sacks, and four interceptions.

Former coach Joe Zaccheo still talks very highly of Williams.

"Willie's a good kid," he said. "He's a great football player. He's just one of those really special kids. If there's a better linebacker anywhere in the country, I'd love to see him."

Incoming UM freshman defensive lineman Eric Moncur was shocked the first time he saw Williams at Carol City this spring.

"I didn't really know about him transferring in or whatever and when I first saw him I was like 'damn!' because he was so dang big and strong looking," Moncur said. "Just by looking into his eyes, you could tell he wanted to take someone's head off."

The talented linebacker has also competed in track at the varsity level in addition to football, although if he's ruled ineligible for football this fall, he won't be able to play any other sports.

"I've gotten a 10.8 in the 100," he said. "That was electronically-timed too. I got a 22-flat in the 200, and I ran the anchor leg in the four by one."

Back to football, Williams talked about his experience at the University of Florida camp.

"It was straight," he said. "I knew there were going to be some good players there so I wanted to go and prove to them who was the best."

Williams talked about one other player that he felt was good competition.

"Keith Rivers was there," he said. "I didn't really know he was going to be there or anything. When I first got there he was like 'you Willie?' and then said 'I'm Keith' to me."

Williams said he had a chance to work out during drills with Rivers for part of the camp.

"I've heard a lot of good things about him," he said. "It was fun playing next to him. He lined up at mike and I lined up at sam and we was ballin' together. He was good competition."

During their conversations, Williams picked up on a few recruiting tidbits from Rivers.

"He's from California or lived there or something," he said. "He talked a lot about USC and how he might be going there."

On the recruiting front, Williams is being heavily recruited by every major college program in America that recruits Dade County.

"I talked to a lot of coaches last month," he said. "I've talked to Coker, Vernon [Hargreaves], and Randy Shannon from UM."

The talented linebacker will get a closer look at UM this weekend at their summer camp.

"I'm going to go do my thing out there," he said. "UM's real high on my list. They're in my top five and everything. It's close to home, I've been talking to the coaches, and they have a great football program. They send guys to the League, they play for championships and all that. They straight right now."

Williams said although he's very high on the Hurricanes, he's not ready to name a single favorite yet.

"I don't know where I'm going for sure yet though," he said. "I'm also looking hard at Florida State, Florida, Ohio State, Auburn, and Oklahoma."

Williams said competition is something he is looking forward to in college.

"Competition is what separates people," he said. "I always want to go up against the best to see where I'm at. I like to compete. UM took some linebackers last year and I'll go in and compete with all of them. Actually, Ali [Highsmith] is my homeboy. We tight and he'll be ballin out there this year."

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