Former University of Miami linebacker Willie Williams, one of the school's biggest and most controversial football recruits in recent memory, will transfer to West Virginia after requesting and receiving his release last Tuesday from the Hurricanes, Yahoo! Sports has learned.
Williams, who missed spring drills while recovering from knee surgery, must sit out the upcoming 2006 season. He will have two years of eligibility remaining once he joins the Big East powerhouse.
The Mountaineers are not only favored to capture the Big East title but they are also expected to challenge for this season's BCS championship game.
"Whatever is best for Willie, I will be in favor of," Miami head coach Larry Coker said in a statement released by the school last Tuesday.
Williams played mostly as a backup linebacker and on coverage units last year, but he felt a little out of place when he was not able to practice and compete for increased playing time in the spring.
The one-time top-rated linebacker prospect in the country was granted admission to Miami despite some negative publicity. He spent time in jail for violating his probation, which stemmed from 11 arrests for various burglary and other offenses during his high school days. Out of high school, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Williams was timed in the 4.4-second range in the 40-yard dash and recorded a 35-inch vertical jump and 330-pound bench press.
Williams' transfer plans fit perfectly for the Mountaineers, whose current starting weak-side linebacker – Kevin McLee – is a senior. McLee's departure will leave the position open for Williams to win next spring.
Williams may recognize at least one familiar face when he arrives on the West Virginia campus as current Mountaineers junior wide receiver/quarterback Dwayne Thompson was also a highly recruited prospect out of Dade County in Miami.
ATKINS HEADED TO BETHUNE-COOKMAN
Recently granted his release from Florida, cornerback Avery Atkins will resurface at Bethune-Cookman. Atkins, who had some off-field issues in Gainesville involving his then-girlfriend, was scheduled to be one of Florida's starting cornerbacks this season. At 5-11 and 190, he has excellent size and showed the ability to play aggressive, man-to-man coverage. He likely would have earned All-SEC honors over the next few years. The transfer to the MEAC program fits very well for Atkins since he is a native of Daytona Beach, where his new school is located. He will be considered a sophomore this season and have three years of eligibility remaining at the Division I-AA program.