Exit Interview: Mike Williams

After a year off from college football filled with intense training and personal growth, Mike Williams is projected to be a high first round pick in this weekend's draft. WeAreSC had the chance to sit down with the former Trojan star just days before the NFL draft.

It is hard to believe that it was just this past season that USC fans were abuzz about the status of Trojan All-American receiver Mike Williams before the BCA Classic opened the 2004-2005 college football season. After two 1,000 yard seasons and 30 touchdowns in dominant and memorable fashion over the course of two seasons and Ohio State freshman Maurice Clarett was initially cleared to enter the draft, Williams made himself an early entry candidate for the NFL draft, a draft with one of the most loaded receiving classes in recent memory, only to be barred from the draft by a later court ruling.

While Trojan fans' last memory of Williams might surround the controversy surrounding his draft status, they should never forget that they witnessed one of the most dominant receivers in not only Trojan history, but collegiate football history, help bring the Trojan program back to the top of the college football world with his spectacular catches and attitude that would not allow his team to be anything short of great.

After a year off from college football filled with intense training and personal growth, Williams is projected to be a high first round pick in this weekend's draft. WeAreSC had the chance to sit down with the former Trojan star just days before the NFL draft.

First, Mike, we'd really like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with us and best of luck in the upcoming NFL draft.
Thank you. I'm very excited about the draft. It's been a long time coming and a lot of hard work involved, and however it turns out, I'm still blessed.

It's been quite the journey to get to this point, just days away from the draft, can you give the fans a quick look into what a day of your training was like?
My day started at 6:30 every morning, listening to R&B music while jogging around my apt complex. Then, I went to the training facility from 8 AM-1 PM where I did numerous things to get bigger, stronger, and faster. But the most important thing I did this year off was give back to my communities. I coached a nine and ten year old full pad football team at the YMCA that I grew up in. I also donated money to various charities and non profit organizations.

You defined what it means to be a freshman phenom in college football, do you have any advice to the incoming recruiting class before their first fall camp at USC? Especially the out of state players?
For incoming freshman players, I would tell them to focus on what's important – school, football, and being a good person. Everything else will come if you take care of business. Also, that homesick thing is overrated. It's an excuse people use when things aren't going their way. Respect the coaches and the older players, and you could be the next big time player at USC.

Are there USC players, either current or past, that you still keep in touch with or have remained close to?
I still keep in touch with Chauncey Washington, Alex Holmes, BKU [Kenechi Udeze], and D. Byrd. They're all trying to be "the man" in their respective arenas, and it's fun to talk to them.

You were obviously very busy training for the combine and workouts, but if you got a chance to get some USC games this past season, was there anyone who particularly impressed you?
I was extremely impressed with the play of Dominique Byrd throughout the season. I believe he was a big part of the offense and he made some big plays.

You gave Trojan fans a lot of great memories in your two seasons, but did you have a favorite moment at USC?
My favorite moment at USC was winning the Rose Bowl. It is something that EVERY Trojan should experience.

I've heard that you have a website called BigMikeWilliams.com in conjunction with Interactive Athlete that will be launching on the day of the draft; can you tell us a little bit about it?
The website is really an idea to build a strong fan base around my personality and character. It will give fans from both USC and my pro team a chance to interact and really give the fans an idea of who I really am. It has message boards and authentic merchandise. I will have a weekly interview with the fans to answer questions about the team and myself. It should be something for the fans to enjoy.

Will it be more of a fan site? Or something similar to Matt Leinart's "blog" this past season?
The website is different because it will be a lot more interaction between the fans and myself. I believe fans will enjoy it.

Let's say you and Keary Colbert had a contest to have 100 balls thrown to you using the same routes, by the some quarterback, who comes down with more catches?
I believe that Keary and I would both catch 100 balls each, but he would probably look better doing it [laughs].

Mike, we know you have a busy schedule and really appreciate you taking the time out for this interview, and so lastly, do you have anything you'd like to say to the USC fans, Mike Williams' fans, and anyone else that has been there for you along the way?
I want USC fans to know that I am blessed to be a Trojan for life. My decision to leave school was for my family and for me to play football at the highest level. And that I plan to continue the tradition of being a great player in the NFL.

WeAreSC: Mike, best of luck in the upcoming draft, we'll be watching anxiously for them to call your name and we'll be on the lookout for BigMikeWilliams.com and your performances both on and off the field.
Thanks for having me.

screenshot courtesy BigMikeWilliams.com

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