Don’t you just love the wonderful world of college football recruiting, especially when it comes to the SEC (or the Big Ten)?
Four-star 2015 wide receiver Preston Williams has been a verbal commit to Tennessee for the last four months but has still taken visits to, among other places, Georgia and, most recently, Auburn. It was on that latter trip this past weekend that the darker side of the recruiting game reared its head yet again.
In the wake of that visit to The Plains, one in which he was reportedly adorned in UT clothing, rumors surfaced that the Georgia high schooler was caught smoking marijuana in a hotel. During a radio interview Tuesday night, Williams, who claimed he was “forced into the visit” by the AU coaching staff, denied the weed accusations.
“Not at all,” Williams told WNML when asked if what in part began as message board rumors were accurate. “That’s how people get when you don’t want to do something, they try to put bad words out on you, rumors and stuff. I just let them put rumors out on me. People are going to believe what they want to believe because they have their own opinion.”
Williams also copped to wearing Vols gear during his visit to The Plains, which could explain why or how the pot speculation surfaced in the first place. Not only was he (allegedly) wearing an SEC rival’s colors, he was (allegedly) actively recruiting other prospects who were visiting in an attempt to get them to flip to UT.
Suffice to say, and per the player, it didn’t sit well with his hosts.
“A lot of schools, they don’t like it,” Williams, who left his AU visit earlier than originally planned (or was forced to leave early), said. “They told me to take it off, this and that. They were getting mad. When they were getting mad, I was like, ‘Do I believe them or not? Are they playing with me or what?’ So I was just laughing.”
Of course, now there’s a report out that Williams wasn’t wearing UT apparel at all, that his visit was in fact cut short because of a combination of disinterest on the part of the prospect and the “incident in the hotel room.” The radio station that did the interview with Williams, citing a source in Auburn’s program with direct knowledge of the situation, reported Tuesday evening that Williams was sent home early after he was caught smoking marijuana.
As for Williams’ comments that he was forced into the AU visit and that it was a last-minute kind of thing, the player confirmed Dec. 31 that he would be taking a January visit to the Tigers. “I want to check Auburn out,” Williams said at the time. “Coach (Dameyune) Craig is recruiting me. I’ve talked to him a lot and I told him I’d come visit.”
So, who’s embellishing what? Who knows. Or, as some would say when it comes to the seedy side of recruiting, who cares just make it stop.
Williams, incidentally, is rated as the No. 19 receiver in the country and the No. 11 player at any position in the state of Georgia by Rivals.com. Oh, and, call it a hunch as I’m no recruiting guru, but don’t look for him to flip to Auburn.
(Photo credit: Rivals.com)