What is the real reason that 5-star Preston Williams abruptly departed Auburn during a recruiting visit?
It has been one of the hottest topics in recruiting circles this week.
The wide receiver from Lovejoy High School has been committed to Tennessee for more than a year. While remaining pledged to the Volunteers, Williams agreed to go check out Auburn on an official visit this past weekend.
There are conflicting reports about what happened next, but one thing is clear: Williams left the Auburn visit early.
“I really don’t have any comment on all of that,” Lovejoy coach Egdar Carson told the AJC on Wednesday. “He did cut the visit short. Right now, he’s just trying to focus on his commitment to Tennessee and go from there.”
RockyTopInsider.com reported that Williams was “asked to leave by Auburn staff members because he showed up wearing nothing but Tennessee apparel and was actively recruiting other visitors to join him at Tennessee.”
WNML, a radio station near Knoxville, Tenn., reported that “a source in Auburn’s program with direct knowledge of the situation told WNML that Williams was sent home early after he was caught smoking marijuana.”
Williams later got on the radio station to directly address the situation, according to WNML’s Josh Ward. He denied the marijuana allegation, and strongly believes it was fabricated by people associated with Auburn.
“That’s how people get when you don’t want to do something, they try to put bad word out on you, rumors and stuff,” Williams told Ward. “I just let them put rumors out on me and people are going to believe what they want to believe because they have their own opinion.”
Williams admitted he wore bright orange Tennessee gear on the visit, and that it did indeed anger the Auburn coaches. He left early because “I just didn’t want to be there anymore … I was forced into the visit.”
Williams plans to sign with Tennessee on Wednesday. His coach defended his star player’s character and reputation.
“I wish people would understand that he’s still a kid,” Carson told the AJC. “Know what I mean? He’s still a kid, and kids make mistakes sometimes. We try to keep our kids in the right direction and moving forward. But he’s a good kid. He has been good for the program.
“Hopefully, he will still be a good influence when he leaves so he can come back and talk to the kids about his experiences. We’ve never had an issue with Preston.”
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