HS player discusses FSU recruiting trip

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Gee, maybe this has something to do w/ why Bowden's players feel like they can write bad checks, shoplift, or rape women.

Willie Williams' weekend visit to Florida State felt like a scene from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

From a ride on a private jet to chowing down hundreds of dollars worth of steaks and lobster tails at Tallahassee's most elegant restaurant The Silver Slipper, Williams ate up the royal treatment.

Williams enjoyed it so much that he says FSU has moved back into a tie with the University of Miami in the battle for his services.

''After this visit, it's 0-0 again,'' said Williams, who will also visit Auburn and Florida. ``UM had taken a lead when they won the Orange Bowl. But I had such a great time [at FSU], I'm torn again. I guess UM and FSU are going to overtime on me.''


Williams had been on a plane before, but not by himself.

''When I got to Miami International Airport, this guy was waiting for me,'' Williams said. 'He was like `Mr. Williams, right this way.' When I got on the plane, I was like 'Where's everybody else.' It was me, the flight attendant and the pilot. I was bugging out.''

Williams slept most of the flight. When he arrived at Tallahassee Airport, 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?'

``He took me to the hotel. This place was beautiful, nicest place I've ever stayed. It was called The Radisson. I was impressed.''


But nothing impressed Williams more than when he sat down for dinner with nearly a dozen other recruits -- including Northwestern cornerback Trevor Ford and Killian cornerback J.R. Bryant.

''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.''

After dinner, Williams met his tour guide -- defensive back Antonio Cromartie. But he quickly urged the coaches to find him a new one.

''That boy was on crutches,'' Williams said. ``I would have had to hop around campus everywhere. Besides, I wanted somebody who played my position to take me around.''

Cromartie was immediately replaced by linebackers Ernie Sims, Willie Jones of Carol City and A.J. Nicholson as well as defensive lineman Clifton Dickson of Northwestern.

''After dinner, we hit the clubs,'' Williams said. ``I had a great time with [fellow recruits] Xavier Carter, Xavier Lee, Aaron Jones and Kenny Ingram. All of us really bonded and had a great time. We got back late -- and we paid for it the next day.''

Williams and other recruits were late for Saturday morning's tour of the campus, which was supposed to start at 8 a.m.

''Some guys like J.R. showed up really late,'' Williams said. ``All in all, it was a good day. They talked to us about their tutoring program. If you start struggling with your grades, they have a program set up that can help. To me, you have no choice but to be successful in school. I was impressed with that.''

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.


Lunch was followed by what Williams referred to as the highlight of the trip.

''They told us to take a walk into the locker room,'' Williams said. ``When we went in there, they had jerseys with our names on it. They even had my No. 17. I told them `Isn't that number retired for [Heisman winner] Charlie Ward? Coach [bobby] Bowden was like, `For you Willie, we'll bring it back.''

Williams and the rest of the recruits then lived a childhood dream when they were each introduced on the Jumbotron screen as the 2004 starting lineup for the Seminoles.

''We all had our Seminoles jerseys on, and they told us: `Run out on the field about 10 yards,'' Williams said. ``I was so pumped up, I just kept running. I ran the entire field.''

Following a trip back to the hotel and a nap, it was time for dinner again.

''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.''


After dessert, Williams returned with his hosts to their dorm room, but quickly learned a few interesting facts about Sims, the top recruit in the nation last year.

''I like Ernie, but there is no way in the world I'd be roommates with him,'' Williams said. ``In fact, I don't know how [Dickson] does it. Sims thinks he's the Crocodile Hunter. It's like the Discovery Channel in his room.

'When Cliff and I walked in, Ernie was sitting on the sofa with a snake around his neck. He was like `Come in, Willie, give me five.' I was like 'Nope. I'm staying by the door.' I kept the door wide open. I was like, `If this man stands up with this snake, I'm outta here.

'I thought I was at the Metro Zoo. He had three snakes, three spiders. Not just any spiders -- poisonous ones. Tarantulas. He had scorpions. I asked Cliff, `How you deal with this.' He said, 'Man, I don't know.' ''

The next morning, Williams and Bowden talked -- one on one -- for nearly 20 minutes.

''We talked about everything,'' Williams said. ``The jersey. The trip. Next year's starting lineup. He told me if I came, they'd leave me at outside linebacker and give me a real good shot at starting next year. That was all I needed to hear.''

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I can't imagine what that dinner cost.....but isn't that against NCAA rules? (I could be wrong) If not, Methinks it should be. To announce over the stadium PA that these twerps are going to be starters in 2004? Nothing like pumpin' sunshine up their tailpipes.

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This is so funny in a South Park kind of way.

My favorite quote: 'I was thinking the bus driver was crazy. Coach Coker was like, `Willie, we've got police escorts.' I told him, 'Thank God. I thought the police were trying to pull us over and give us a ticket.'

There are multiple parts to the article:

Florida State



Look for the final part, "University of Florida," on Tuesday

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thats so crazy. didn't fsu just accuse florida of doing too much on recruit visits? they seemed to complain about a lot of the stuff i just read. why were all those northwestern players at FSU?

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"For you, Willie, we'll bring it back."

That #17 jersey, although I absolutely despise the Criminoles, belongs only to one man - Charlie Ward. Why the hell would you even retire a number if you're just going to use it as recruiting bait? I'd feel ashamed if I were Charlie. He did more for Bobby Bowden than any player EVER has. What a dirty, low-life, ungrateful SOB.

What's worse, he actually is a good a coach :no:

Oh well, I hope the Gators steal Cornelius Ingram from FSU. He's the most sought after QB in the state of Florida. The Gators are also expected to announce whether they will give Ingram's high school teammate, Marcus Baker WR, a scholarship today. If they do, consider Ingram money in the bag - he's from Gainesville.

I wonder how much money is spent on recruiting visits. I always knew they did some pretty nice things for top recruits, but that story is just insane. No wonder Chris Rix parks in handicap stalls with his SUV (gee, I didn't know college athletes made that much money). I guess FSU told him he had front door parking.

And you wonder why the NCAA won't investigate. They go after Tarkanian at Fresno State over some free Chinese food.

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As far as I know, these are all LEGAL recruiting tactics. Several schools now-a-days are having jersey's created for potential recruits, they also "wine and dine" them to get their services. I think player hosts are given daily stipend maximums to "entertain" the recruits during the evening/night time. Most good coaches know the rules like the back of their hands so they can use anything to their benefit without breaking the rules.

There are those exceptions, as the ALLEGATIONS (yes, I said allegations) at Colorado have them using "sex parties" to entertain recruits. Its all speculation, but you can already see how quickly its been going around in the media.

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The going out to the club, you'll find, is more than just dancing...it usually includes a trip to some house party where you're given your choice of girl(s) and usually any type of booze within your request.

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soleredd - awesome update to this post. that is classic (Y) (Y)

Here's another tale of recruiting gone bad from UofM, home of the golden gopher.

Strip club trip cost UofM recruit effort

Strip-club trip costs U a recruit


Pioneer Press

The University of Minnesota's most celebrated football recruit this year said he backed out of his commitment to the school because a number of Gophers players took him and three other recruits ? one of whom was underage ? to a strip club during his official recruiting trip last month, a practice that apparently happened at least twice after that.

Lydon Murtha's trip to the club during the weekend of Dec. 5 was enough to "shock" him and contribute to his doubts about whether the U was the right place for him.

"I'm not into that kind of stuff," said Murtha, an offensive lineman from Hutchinson, Minn., who added that he will attend the University of Nebraska instead.

The recruits went to the Deja Vu Nightclub, 315 Washington Ave. N., an 18-and-older strip club that does not serve alcohol, with a group of "less than 20" Gophers players, said Wayzata's Dominique Barber. Barber said he was there with fellow recruits Murtha, Hopkins' Johnny Carlson and Jack Simmons of Mundelein, Ill. Carlson confirmed he was there. Simmons was unavailable for comment.

Barber, a sought-after running back, is 17 years old.

Murtha's Hutchinson teammate, Tony Mortensen, said he went to the same strip club during his official university visit the following weekend. Another recruit, who requested anonymity, said he also went to a strip club on his recruiting trip in January, but that participation was up to each recruit.

Gophers head coach Glen Mason, on the road recruiting, was unavailable for comment. Gophers athletics director Joel Maturi said he will look into the practice of taking recruits to strip clubs and try to find a way to prevent it from happening in the future. Maturi said he did not think there was a policy, in writing, against going to strip clubs, but he feels that should be an understood rule. "That'd be like saying, 'Don't go rob a bank,' " Maturi said.

That one of the recruits was underage was particularly troubling to Maturi.

"Well, that's a concern now," he said. "Does he have a fake ID? Did we provide him one? Did the people at the club? There's lots of issues here. ? I'm first concerned what our student-athletes are thinking of when they do this. Now, in essence, we jeopardized a recruit to being arrested. It's going back to what Glen says: 'Don't put yourselves in jeopardy, don't put the university in jeopardy, don't put the kids in jeopardy.' They didn't listen real well."

Whether taking a recruit to a strip club constitutes an NCAA violation would be subject to interpretation under bylaw 13.5.2 for "excessive entertainment," which states that a "member institution may not arrange or permit excessive entertainment of a prospect on campus or elsewhere." The bylaw gives examples of limousine or helicopter rides, or hiring a band to perform for recruits, as examples. NCAA spokeswoman Kay Hawes said she could not speculate on whether a trip to a strip club would be a violation.

NCAA rules allow hosts $30 a day for entertaining their recruits, Hawes said. It is unclear whether using that money for entrance to a strip club falls under the "excessive entertainment" violation. Carlson said he paid his way into the club. Mortensen said he did not pay his way in and said he didn't know who paid for him.

Gophers assistant head coach Moe Ankney said Mason specifically told current Gophers players before official visits began in December that strip clubs were a definite "don't" when acting as recruiting hosts.

"I sit in the meeting, and our policy is we don't condone that, and Coach Mason doesn't condone that," Ankney said.

Ankney said he has not heard of players taking recruits to a strip club in his three years on the Minnesota staff. He said he could not speculate on any discipline for players involved.

"(Mason will) have to see what happened and take appropriate action when he does," he said.

When asked to comment about going to the club when he was underage, Barber hung up the phone. Mike Gabrysiak, general manager at Deja Vu, said "Everyone that enters the establishment must be 18 or over. Anyone that enters the door must have a valid ID. If they don't have that, they're asked to leave the property right away.''

He said he doesn't remember any Gophers football players coming in last month and that the club has no special relationship with the university.

Deja Vu's unofficial motto is "Ladies Dance Until They're Nude." There is an $8 cover charge and an $8 bottomless, nonalcoholic drink. Deja Vu's parent company also owns DreamGirls on North Fifth Street in Minneapolis, along with a several dozen clubs in California, 14 other states, Canada and France.

Murtha, a consensus top-50 recruit nationally, had orally committed to the Gophers during his junior year, but that commitment is not binding. He said, "The Gophers did a lot of good things for me," but he decided to visit Nebraska last weekend. He said he did not attend any strip clubs there and felt more comfortable with the situation.

"He just told me he had the best time he ever had (on his visit)," said Hutchinson teammate Tony Mortensen, a Gophers commitment and former friend who said he is "upset" with Murtha for how he dealt with the recruiting process. "So I just think this is a bunch of B.S."

Recruits are permitted five paid visits to five different schools. Generally, official visits are a chance for the recruit to get to know the campus and socialize with players.

According to recruiting analyst Allen Wallace of SuperPrep, trips to strip clubs for recruits probably aren't common, "but I'm sure it happens."

Before Murtha backed out, recruiting expert Tom Lemming had ranked the Gophers' recruiting class in his national top 25.

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Callaway - thanks man, and good post as well

From what we, as the general public, know, all of this stuff is illegal. The NCAA makes such a case over the smallest mishap (again, I reference Fresno State and Jerry Tarkanian) yet they turn their head on ALOT of crap. I guess because the player isn't officially part of the school, or the NCAA, then the school can do whatever they want.

Still, its pretty freakin amazing how these schools will basically get on their knees for these guys.

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