After much anticipation the NCAA finally made their long-awaited ruling on the case of U.S.C. wide receiver Mike Williams, denying a request to restore his college eligibility. As most of you probably know, Williams entered the NFL Draft and hired an agent on the heels of a ruling in Maurice Clarett's case against the NFL regarding the leagues underclassmen rule but was left in limbo when that was overturned. As I have said all along, I never thought the NCAA would show much leniency in this case because they haven't with somewhat similar situations in the past (i.e. Donte' Stallworth) and also because doing so would be starting on a very slippery slope and setting a very dangerous precedent.
This obviously begs the question "What is next" for Williams? Simply put, I wouldn't shed too many tears for him because his future is still extremely bright. Williams could go and play in the CFL but he has said that isn't an option, which is probably smart considering the risk of injury involved. What this basically boils down to is Williams now gets an early start on training for the NFL Scouting Combine and workouts, which could be a blessing in disguise. Training to run the forty yard dash is much different than normal football training so it may allow Williams to whittle down his forty time, which is basically the only knock on his game at this point. If you remember, Williams was only able to run in the 4.6 range in the forty in a private workout leading up to the 2004 Draft before he was declared ineligible, yet he was still considered a lock for the Top 10-15 overall picks in an extremely strong year for wide receivers.
What this doesn't change is Mike Williams' talent as he is still one of the premier pro prospects in the nation. Even with missing a year of football I still feel Williams will be the top wideout available in the 2005 NFL Draft, a legitimate candidate for the #1 overall pick and a lock for the top 5-10 overall.
- Scott Wright of NFL Draft Countdown