posted on Feb, 21 2004 @ 08:22 AM
Barring an unanticipated change of heart, Southern California wide receiver Mike Williams will become the first underclass prospect to enter the draft
since the NFL was forced by the Maurice Clarett case to alter its eligibility rules.
Williams has decided to forego his remaining two seasons of college eligibility. He has not, however, filed the required paperwork yet with the NFL
and will meet this weekend with his parents to discuss his decision.
In two college seasons, Williams has 176 catches for 2,570 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Williams, 20, is actually 3 1/2 months younger than Clarett, who challenged the league's eligibility rules and was admitted to the draft when a U.S.
District Court judge in New York ruled the NFL guidelines in violation of anti-trust laws
The NFL is appealing that decision but, because of the ruling, the league re-opened its draft deadline and players now have until March 1 to petition
for early entry into the 2004 lottery April 24-25.
Because he is not yet three years removed from his high school class graduation date, Williams would not have been eligible under the NFL's former
rules. Williams said after the Clarett ruling that he had no intention of leaving the Trojans, the defending co-national champions. But several
general managers and personnel directors surveyed here Friday said they were not surprised by the news that Williams would be a part of the '04 draft
[Edited on 2/21/2004 by Ben]