September 1, 2009 | 12:37pm
Perhaps, if things had worked out differently, Willie Williams could be sitting at an NFL training camp right now. Instead, he's sitting in jail. Again.
He's behind bars in Lawrenceville, Georgia, after being arrested Thursday on charges of burglary and wreckless driving, according to the
. Williams apparently had befriended a family in the area but then allegedly snuck into their house and went on a shameless sticky-fingers shopping spree. Among the items he's charged with swiping: a Nintendo Wii, an Xbox 360, digital cameras, a Smartphone, a desktop computer, a laptop computer, several hundred dollars in cash, some jewelry, and not one, not two, not three, but four iPods.
Williams is a man with immense athletic talent. Why the hell does he keep screwing up?
In 2004, the Carol City High grad was regarded as the top recruit in Florida and the top high school linebacker in the nation. During the recruiting war, he kept a diary for the Herald and recounted his experiences flying on private jets and feasting on steak and lobster -- accounts that prompted the NCAA to make some changes in its recruiting policies.
During his visit to the University of Florida, he was arrested for setting off fire extinguishers in his hotel room and hugging a female student against her will. He was also arrested 12 other times as a minor and charged as an adult in a burglary case when he was 17. When University of Miami signed him later that year, the team was unaware of the legal problems. Williams got off with parole. UM accepted him, and he seemed to be back on the right track to his dream of playing in the NFL.
Unhappy with his playing time at Miami, he bounced around between various other schools before landing at Union College in Kentucky. A couple of more arrests came in the meantime, including ones for marijuana possession, tampering with evidence, and driving without a license.
By most accounts, even though he grew up in a tough neighborhood, he came from a supportive, loving family, and his football skills could have taken him far. Apparently he still had hopes of signing with a major-league team.
Perhaps his earlier run-ins with the law could be chalked up to immaturity, but at 24, Williams is a man now, who seemingly keeps marring his once-promising future. What are you going to do with people like that?