Williams cleared to play by SEC, says he loves UT

The good news just keeps on coming for Tennessee’s football team.

Some three and half years after signing with the Vols, linebacker Gerald Williams will finally be able to play in a game for UT after the SEC granted his eligibility Friday.

Williams, a 2005 signee from Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., returned to practice Friday for the first time since Aug. 20 after receiving the word during a team meeting earlier in the day.

Williams, who has three years of eligibility remaining, will make the trip to UCLA for Tennessee’s opener Monday night (TV: ESPN, 8 p.m.).

“The whole team stood up and gave him a standing ovation,” UT coach Phillip Fulmer said. “He’s been through a lot to get here. It’s been hard on him. I personally want to say how much I appreciate our conference office and our administration.”

Williams expressed excitement over the news.

“I’m just grateful to the SEC office, our compliance office and the administration,” Williams said in a statement released by Tennessee. “It was tough, but I love UT. With all I’ve been through to get here – it feels great. I’m excited to be wearing orange and playing for Coach Fulmer, Coach (John) Chavis and my teammates.”

Williams spent last year at City College of San Francisco and 2006 at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy. He sat out the 2005 season after the NCAA Clearinghouse flagged his transcript following his enrollment at UT and practiced with the team.

Friday’s decision was the second time in the last month that a Tennessee player successfully won an appeal regarding eligibility. The NCAA granted Florida State transfer Brandon Warren’s hardship appeal Aug. 19.

Beyond a few special teams snaps, Fulmer said he’s unsure how much Williams will play Monday.

Before sitting out practice while waiting on word about his eligibility, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound sophomore worked primarily behind Ellix Wilson and Nick Reveiz at middle linebacker.

The SEC’s decision couldn’t have come much later.

After receiving the final paperwork on Williams this week, the conference made a quick decision that came just hours before the deadline to drop and add classes for the fall semester. Without a ruling Friday, Williams would have had to sit out another year.

At the heart of Williams’ appeal was a new SEC rule that requires junior college transfers who were non-qualifiers out of high school to pass two English and two math courses at a junior college to be eligible at an SEC school.

Williams took his final math class as a correspondence course at UT after arriving here this summer. The SEC rule, which went into effect Aug. 1, does not allow correspondence courses in core requirements to count toward an athlete’s eligibility.

Fulmer declined to provide specifics on Williams’ appeal process, however Fulmer was clearly pleased by the good news.

“It’s wonderful to have him out there,” Fulmer said. “He’s worked so hard to get himself here. I’m excited for him as much as I am us to have him around. He’s got to go to work now and prove his merit, but he’s the type of young man that will definitely do that.”

Fulmer Show Goes On: The Phillip Fulmer Show will air at its normally scheduled time Sunday morning at 11 (TV: WVLT) in Knoxville, despite the fact Tennessee doesn’t play until Monday.

The show, which usually features a recap of Saturday’s game and a look at the following week’s opponent, will instead focus on the UT-UCLA series.

Drew Edwards covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2008, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2008 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 252

daltontarvol writes:


mdvol writes:

Great for Gerald! Go Vols!

banman360 writes:

I am scared for UCLA. they have no idea what gerald is going to do to them

letshave1more writes:


kicknwing writes:

this is amazing, completely just made my day. you know he's gonna be ready to unleash some rage on those bruins. let's go big orange!

tnbanker_govols writes:

Gerald is FREE!!!!!

TommyJack writes:

Glad the approving body isn't in charge of shipping pacemaker batteries.

volfan2002 writes:

Wow I was beginning to think it would never happen. Nice to have a player with such desire to be a Vol. Welcome Gerald

krheavol writes:

This man has waited a long time to suit up for the Vols! I hope it has just added fuel to his fire! Go get'em son!!!

tnbanker_govols writes:

I saw today that on Fox Sports that the biggest potential upset is UCLA over UT....even without Gerald playing, I thought this was ridiculous. I figured Bama over Clemson but anyway....I'm sure they want to rethink that especially now.

Orangebrewbasher writes:

About freakin time!!

VolChickInGA writes:

Awesome! Has he been practicing on his own or what, does anyone know?

TommyJack writes:

Savage: You got some additional skinny on this?

Waldorf writes:


jacksfacts writes:

Imagine him walking up and down the halls of his dorm after hearing the news. Probably screaming like a caged animal, head-butting and punching walls. Then imagine UCLA's qb dropping back and GW coming from his blindside and unleashing 3 yrs of frustration and pain in one fatal blow.

LiveFaith writes:

I wonder if we could petition them for another year for Henderson and Haynesworth as well? Seems to be working pretty well lately.

dave1#220678 writes:

Fritters on the house for everyone. TJ is buying.

gnm53108 writes:

What forever said.
Now rip the head off of anything not in orange.


DennisVols writes:

This is what I call a perfect storm. Warren and now Williams. The pieces to the puzzle seem to be coming together for this years team.
This is bad new for UCLA and every other team on UT's schedule.
Go Vols!!!!

TommyJack writes:

Fritters all around. Bill me.

buxavol writes:

Great news for a young man that has shown more dedication, persistence, & patience to become a Vol than I have ever seen!
Now sic 'em...

pammyvol1000 writes:

Gerald Williams.. we love you!!!

TNfaninMS writes:

It is about time. THE MAN IS FREEEEED. FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMM! in the infamous words of Sir William Wallace. GO VOLS! Take your SEC administration frustration on the unsuspecting bearcubbies! Whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!

pammyvol1000 writes:

Group hug.. Prayers were answered...

VOLPhan writes:



OakyVol09 writes:

I feel sorry for those Bruins. I think that G. WIll is going to take this out on some of those RBs. It will be awesome to watch. Congratulations Gerald. Good job by the SEC of getting this right, even though it took way too long.

Any word on Walls or Hughes?

thesavageorange writes:

TommyJack, only that I'm fast!Sometimes you just have to trust the SavageO.☺

Posted by thesavageorange on August 29, 2008 at 4:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's official Williams is a VOL!!!

picchic913#459936 writes:

WHOOP WHOOP!! UCLA better to get ready to lose the rest of the noninjured quarterbacks...if they have any of those left!

pammyvol1000 writes:

Yeah..Volphan... kick those bunions real good!!
I'm so excited.. I cannot wait to see him play on the field wearing that beautiful orange..

GerryOP writes:

Our Vols are still undefeated in 2008 - Wisconsin, Warren, and Williams! All W's!!!

auttat writes:

We trust you savage. Now get that site up and running.

jacksfacts writes:


pammyvol1000 writes:

Savage: Are you like the Vol CIA inside secret agent for the fans.. guy? You are the MAN!

thesavageorange writes:

TJ, CPF will adress the media after practice.GW is in uniform , participating in practice, and has been added to the travel roster.

OakyVol09, prep school for atleast 1 semester.Either at Hargrave or Fork Union.Today was their deadline also.

voloffaith writes:

gnm the new rule doesn't allow horsescollaring anymore so tone it down to giving a ROCKYTOP, SLOBBERKNOCKIN'!!! That will probably land them 10yrds back or in the 3rd row if hit by the sidelines. GO VOLS!!!

Thanks for waiting as patiently as possible Mr. Williams. Remember the line in 'Remember the Titans' where the guy looked down at the qb he had just put down and said paraphrasing,"you better get used to being down there."

Hello, my name is Mr. Williams and this is my neighborhood. You wanna play here get permission otherwise........

Oops that started some goose bumps spreading...I am getting game ready how bout ya'll?

Volchaz writes:

SWEET< great news, hope it isn't too late for him to contribute...

caskew#218608 writes:

Can you hear that?....................ROCKY TOP YOU'LL ALWAYS BE.........................

DannyVol writes:

This is the last piece of the puzzle. Linebacker is no longer a weakness; we now have strength at every position on the field.

This may be the best defense in all of football.

lastlap writes:

Free at Last Free at Last. Thank God Almighty Gerald Williams is Free at Last. Now it's finally time for you to show Big Orange Country what we've been waiting for. BIG CONGRATS. WELL OVERDUE.

volunteer_cowboy writes:

doug matthews is on 104.5 the zone right now

gavol2572 writes:

the clouds have parted and a single ray of sunshine is beaming down of the UT campus, this is ALMOST appears to be divine intervention. (its just a joke)

Txvol57 writes:


thesavageorange writes:

pammyvol1000 , all I can say is never burn bridges, and make sure you have text messaging.

I am just absolutely overjoyed for GW.

volunteer_cowboy writes:

there is actually people calling in picking ucla in a sqeeker over UT

pammyvol1000 writes:

Nonnie Nonnie Boo Boo... UCLA..we are gonna get U!!! Go Gerald!!!

volboy81#211803 writes:



pammyvol1000 writes:

savage: you do have some ties to someone at the top! Long as you share the info we are loving it.

Volchaz writes:

(voice of the Rock) Finally, G-dub..has come back....to Knoxville....

Now go bust some bruins in the Rose Bowl....

pammyvol1000 writes:

Where is PDHuff? come on Man let's celebrate. Dance to the music..

thesavageorange writes:

Volchaz believe me he will contribute.He had been practicing and scrimmaging untill last week.

If I had to compare him w/ someone on the college level ,it would be Jevon Kearse.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.