There might not be one player who better defined the first few months of the Steve Kragthorpe era than Willie Williams.
The infamously troubled former Miami linebacker is still likely the most controversial transfer the U of L football program has ever taken. Debates raged for days on the Internet about whether or not the juice was worth the squeeze for Louisville and its new head coach. The arguments got so heated that Tom Jurich finally stepped directly into the flames and personally vouched for Williams, saying he would come to U of L with a "zero tolerance policy," and that any indiscretion would result in an immediate dismissal.
Williams quickly became one of the biggest Louisville stories of the summer of 2007. Fans came out to the open practices just to see him, and then talked endlessly about the way he hit the sled during drills.
This would prove to be the high point of Williams' time as a Cardinal, as he played sparingly in three games before being arrested for possession of marijuana and was subsequently kicked off the team. The news got even more embarrassing for Williams, as the arrest report detailed him attempting to eat the marijuana in order to avoid being caught. He transferred to West Los Angeles Community College before coming back to Kentucky to finish up his college career at Union College.
So what's Willie up to these days? Well, he's still in Kentucky.
Willie Williams is a sobering reminder that being one of the nation's top football recruits is far from a guarantee of future success.
The former Miami (FL) and Louisville linebacker, once believed to be the next Ray Lewis, now sits in a prison cell at Kenton County Jail in Covington, KY, after he was found guilty of second-degree burglary and being a persistent felony offender last March. It's believed to be his 17th arrest. While the sentencing was not reported publicly, Williams faced 10 to 20 years behind bars and the jury for the case recommended that he be locked up for 15 years.
If nothing else, at least every time around this year Williams will be able serve as a teaching example for the young men preparing to sign to play four years somewhere.