Whatever happened to Kyle Williams?

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Critics like to remind me of players I overlooked or didn't rate high enough as opposed to those I didn't or did. After 30 years of evaluating talent, I am proud of my track record. Nobody is 100 percent. And I long ago learned to live with the fact that, no matter how I rate a player or a recruiting class, somebody will disagree.

For example, when I tapped Tim Tebow as the No. 1 quarterback in the country before anyone else, critics said they knew about him all along. But they jumped on my evaluation of Palatine quarterback Jeff Hecklinski, who went to Illinois but didn't do well. The truth was he was told that the Illini would build their offense around him--but it didn't happen.

Look at the NFL. Former Notre Dame running back Ryan Grant, now with the Green Bay Packers, is one of the leading rushers in the league. But he was undrafted. Imagine, all of the teams in the NFL, with all of the millions of dollars they spend on scouting, passed on Grant. I guess it only proves that everybody makes mistakes.

Let's examine the case of Illinois guard Martin O'Donnell, recently named to the college All-America first team. As a senior at Downers Grove South, he was rated as one of the top five offensive linemen in the nation by one scouting service. I rated him as the No. 3 offensive lineman and the No. 5 player in Illinois.

That was 2002. The same scouting service that touted O'Donnell rated Kyle Williams of Bolingbrook as the No. 1 linebacker in the country and the No. 1 player in Illinois. Williams went to Iowa, then to Purdue. Now he is in jail. I wasn't impressed by Williams' performance on film or in person and didn't even rank him among the top 100 players in the nation. I took a lot of heat for that at the time.

The top five players in Illinois on my list were Buffalo Grove's Tom Zbikowski, Decatur MacArthur's Moe Dampeer, Richards' Mike Jones, Wheaton North's Akim Millington and O'Donnell. All of them were four-star players (out of five).

O'Donnell wasn't an impact player in his first four years at Illinois but he came on this season to be one of the key movers in coach Ron Zook's running attack. Good for him. The Chicago Bears' offensive line could use a young body like his.

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regardless of kyle williams issues off the field personalLy knowing him and watching him since he was a freshman I am baffled at how you wern't impressed with his play? He was an outstanding tackeler who had a nose for the ball and nobody hit near as hard as he has. Ive seen some of the great players in highschool football and he is up there on my list. What I'm wondering is what did you see playing wise that you didn't like?

Apparently you know more than the coaches at Purdue and Brock Spack does as Kyle Williams earned a starting linebacker at Purdue his freshman year and from what I hear was tearing it up on the practice field as well while he was with the team.

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This page contains a single entry by Second Season published on December 13, 2007 7:16 PM.

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