August 1, 2007

Williams joins 18 signees on report day

As far as Ryan Williams is concerned, he's waited long enough. He's not going to let anything else stand in the way of his college football career.

Williams, a cornerback from Mobile, Ala., was on Auburn's campus Wednesday with 18 other members of AU's incoming freshman class. None of his classmates had as much reason to be excited to be there.

Twenty-four hours earlier, Williams was in Mobile, waiting for word that he had been cleared by AU's admissions department. It was the latest in a long line of waits, starting when news reports revealed Williams had had 10 grades changed on his high-school transcript.

A lengthy investigation by the NCAA Clearinghouse followed. The investigation ended with Williams' grades approved; neither Williams nor anyone connected with AU has been accused of any wrongdoing.

But there was still more waiting, as AU's admissions department further reviewed his grades before sending the transcripts to the Southeastern Conference for final approval. That approval came early Wednesday morning.

As soon as he got the word, Williams hurried to Auburn, arriving in time to go through a weigh-in and physical with the rest of his classmates. Then it was straight into a meeting covering what the new freshmen could expect in the opening days of their college careers.

From there, the rookies headed to a press conference. And Williams, naturally, was one of the centers of attention.

"It feels real great," Williams told a gaggle of reporters when asked about his long journey to the Plains. "I'm just ready to get up here and start working. I earned it, honestly.

"I'm just glad to be up here. I'm ready for the season to start and to work hard."

Hard work is on the horizon for Williams and the other freshmen. Only a few rookies are expected to play this season, and none will be handed jobs.

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