Third time's a charm

Good things come to those who wait ... and wait ... and wait on the NCAA Clearinghouse.

That's the lesson learned by Gerald Williams, who signed a football scholarship with Tennessee in February of 2005 and – a mere 39 months later – appears on the verge of joining the Vol program.

Williams is currently wrapping up some classwork at Knoxville's Pellisippi State Community College, then Vol officials expect him to enroll at UT for summer school.

If things go as planned – nothing has to date for him – he will be eligible for duty when the Vols open the 2008 season at UCLA on Sept. 1. Williams, 18 years old when he originally signed with Tennessee, will celebrate his 22nd birthday when he plays his fourth game as a Vol Sept. 27 at Auburn.

Given that three years and three months have passed since he originally signed scholarship papers, here's a refresher course in the bizarre saga of Gerald Lee Deangelo Williams.

He recorded 132 tackles as a junior, then was tabbed a 2004 PrepStar All-American after recording 135 tackles, 9 sacks and 3 interceptions as a senior at Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. His best games came against Dillard (23 tackles, 2 sacks, 25-yard interception return for touchdown) and Miramar (20 tackles, 89-yard interception return for TD). He was named Broward County Defensive Player of the Year and got a four-star rating from

A four-year starter at linebacker, the 6-4, 226-pound Williams also averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds per game en route to recognition as conference MVP in basketball as a senior in 2004-05.

He distinguished himself during a Vol preseason scrimmage in August of '05, but was sidelined shortly thereafter by the NCAA Clearinghouse, which raised some eligibility issues.

After spending the entire fall of 2005 waiting for NCAA Clearinghouse to approve him, Williams re-signed with UT in February of 2006. The Clearinghouse continued dragging its feet, however, so he enrolled at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, where he recorded 96 tackles and two forced fumbles in the fall of '06.

When the Clearinghouse still hadn't approved him by February of 2007, Williams enrolled at City College of San Francisco, where he registered 146 tackles and six forced fumbles in the fall of '07, helping CCSF win the junior college national title.

He signed with Tennessee for the third time on February 6, 2008, reaffirming a commitment he previously made in 2005 and again in 2006.

In the 39 months since he originally signed with the Vols, Williams has added 14 pounds ... and, no doubt, a world of patience.

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