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You’ve Got To Be A Football Hero

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The Miami Herald is running a series of articles following a heavily recruited high-school football prospect, one Willie Williams, as he goes from college to college (FSU, Auburn, Miami) and gets the VIP treatment. It’s obnoxious that some kid gets treated like a king for playing football while everyone else is filling out financial aid forms, but this is worth the read — believe me. This kid is like a young, naive Mike Tyson. Everything he says pegs the unintentional comedy meter.

He eats a lot at FSU:

“…defensive line coach Odell Haggins was there to greet him. “When he picked me up, he had a box of chicken wings for me,” Williams said. “I was starving, but there was only like two wings. I told him ‘Coach, we’re still going to dinner right?”

“Dinner was tight,” Williams said. “We had our own section in the restaurant, but the only thing that bugged me was that I sat all the way in the back — so I was the last one to get my food.

“Coach Haggins told us to order as much as we wanted. I ordered a steak and a lobster tail. The lobster tail was like $49.99. I couldn’t believe something so little could cost so much. The steak didn’t even have a price. The menu said something about market value. I was kind of embarrassed so I didn’t order a lot.

“But then I saw what the other guys were ordering, I was like, ‘Forget this.’ I called the waiter back and told him to bring me four lobster tails, two steaks and a Shrimp Scampi. It was good. I took two boxes back with me to the hotel.”

[snip]

After the tour, Williams said the players were treated to lunch at Doak Campbell Stadium. But it wasn’t the type of meal the players had been treated to the night before. Just sandwiches.

[snip]

“I asked Coach Odell, ‘Where we eating tonight?’ Williams said. “He was like, ‘The stadium’ I thought he was playing. Then we ended up eating at the stadium again. I guess we spent all their money the night before.”

What the recruits didn’t know at the time was that they were in for a treat — a trip to Bobby Bowden’s home for his wife’s homemade deserts.

“Coach Bowden was cool, but Ms. Bowden was the bomb,” Williams said. “I swear, she must be related to Betty Crocker or something. When we walked into that house, it was like walking into a Publix Bakery — banana pudding, chocolate cake, cheese cake. I had one of everything. I didn’t want to leave.”

The eating binge continues at Aurburn:

Before heading out to dinner, the recruits waited for the Auburn coaches in the hotel lobby, where a spread of shrimp, cheeses, cold cuts and fruits awaited.

“They told me they heard about my trip to FSU and how I love to eat,” Williams said. “They were like, ‘Willie, Why don’t you have a few snacks before we go to dinner.’ So, I served myself like six little plates of everything.”

Following the “snack,” Williams and the recruits headed for a restaurant called Old Charlie’s. After experiencing a long wait for his food on his trip to FSU, Williams made sure to sit at the front of the table near the waiter to order first.

“I really wanted to go to Red Lobster for some more lobster and steak, but they told me the wait was two hours. So I got me some babyback ribs, buffalo wings and shrimp,” Williams said.

But even Williams has his limit. And he wasn’t about fall for the trap the country bumpkins at Auburn laid for him:

During the wait, several of the female hosts, nicknamed the “Tigerettes”, offered him some of their spinach dip.

“You know how it is, those girls are supposed to be there to cheer you up,” Williams said. “But I told them, ‘I ain’t no animal, and I ain’t going to eat no plant.”

“But they kept pushing it toward me. It was disgusting. I told them, ‘I’m from Miami. I don’t eat that. You farm people are used to it, but not me.'”

[snip]

Later that night, the recruits were invited to a party on campus with their hosts.

“The girls at the party were much better than the farmer girls we’d see all day around campus,” Williams said. “I was kind of worried all Auburn had to offer was those farmer girls that talked funny. But the girls at the party weren’t farmer girls at all. I thought they must have bused them in from Miami.”

The farmer girls talked funny. Poor Willie must have been buggin’. Oh, the irony. Meanwhile at Miami, Willie is even more impressed:

Williams was surprised when Coker picked him up.

“Coach [Coker] looks like an old guy in his 50s or 60s, but he’s real cool,” Williams said. “When he talks, he sounds like he’s 18 or 20.

“And when I saw he was driving the Escalade, I was like, ‘Dang, coach got some taste.'”

Yes, an Escalade is the height of style and grace. Coach also reads the papers:

Following the stadium, the recruits were bused to Monty’s restaurant on Miami Beach.

“As soon as I got off that bus, it was like a cartoon,” Williams said. “The smell hit me right away. Coach was like, ‘Willie, you’ve got an eating disorder.'”

After the recruits were greeted with nachos and crab claws, the main course quickly followed — along with the arrival of UM players, including D.J. Williams and cornerback Antrel Rolle.

“Coach Coker must be related to Cleo or something,” Williams said of the famed TV psychic. “The man knew what I wanted and had it already ordered. I didn’t need a menu. I told him, `Coach, how did you know what I like?’

“He was like, ‘Willie, I’ve been reading up on you.'”

Then of course, they finally get to the real purpose of college: video games and girls.

Dinner was followed by a trip back to Rolle’s apartment for a few hours of video games. Then it was off for a night out on South Beach.

“They took us to this place called ‘The Bed.’ Warren Sapp, Clinton Portis, Jevon Kearse and a whole bunch of really hot girls were all there.”

Yep, this guy is definitely college material. Sure, it’s easy to make fun of Willie, but never forget: He ain’t no animal. He ain’t going to eat no plant.

I will be watching his career with interest.

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