Waiting on Williams

Thirty-six months after he first participated in a Tennessee football practice, he's still waiting to be ruled eligible to participate in a game.

He surely won't be waiting much longer, though.

That's the word on Vol linebacker Gerald Williams, who has missed five practices in a row while awaiting certification of some paperwork related to an on-line class he took at UT to complete his junior college degree.

As most Vol fans are acutely aware, Williams signed with Tennessee out of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., in February of 2005 and participated in two weeks of preseason drills that August before the NCAA Clearinghouse flagged his standardized test score and pulled him off the practice field.

Williams hoped to enroll at UT in January of '06 but the Clearinghouse still hadn't approved him. The stall continued throughout a year at Fork Union Military Academy in 2006-07, so he spent the 2007-08 school year at City College of San Francisco. Once he finished the on-line course at UT, he assumed all of his academic woes were behind him. Because of a delay in getting some paperwork completed, however, he's in limbo once more.

Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer and defensive coordinator John Chavis said Tuesday there are no new developments in Williams' case. So, with the season opener at UCLA just five days away, the 6-4, 240-pounder watches and waits. Will he be available or won't he?

"We'll just see," Chavis said. "I hope things can get cleared up because we certainly need him. There's no doubt about that."

The coordinator saw enough of Williams in Tennessee's three preseason scrimmages to know that he could have immediate impact.

"He's got to be ready to play for us," Chavis said. "He's a guy we anticipate playing a lot of snaps, and he's one of those guys that can give us some dynamics out there. He's a guy that can make some special plays."

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