McGee Dismisses UAB's Leading Receiver
By Dan Harralson
With two weeks remaining until the kickoff of the 2013 season, UAB already has made headlines.
Blazers head coach Garrick McGee made the decision to dismiss UAB's leading wide receiver, Jackie Williams, from the team.
"Jackie is a good kid and a good player, but what's best for our football program is that we part ways," head coach Garrick McGee said in a statement last Friday.
Williams, a senior, caught 52 passes last season and is currently ranked fourth all-time in school history with 140 career receptions and 1,733 yards. Williams caught a pass in all 35 games he's played in and that active streak was tops in the NCAA coming into the 2013 season.
With McGee leaving the reason for the surprising dismissal of Williams undisclosed, speculation for the dismissal of UAB's leading receiver swirled.
Williams was just as shocked as anyone.
"I really don't know what caused Coach McGee to make his decision," Williams said. "I thought things were moving in the right direction and we had the same common goals of winning a conference championship. Apparently I wasn't a part of that, so he told me it was best for me to part ways."
McGee then clarified his initial non-explanation of Williams' dismissal.
"I do think I made a mistake by when I released that Jackie was no longer with our team," McGee said. "I left it at undisclosed reasons. That really left everyone an opportunity to speculate. I was told there was a lot of speculation on him potentially getting in trouble with the law or flunking a drug test or something. None of that's true."
Just days before his dismissal, a New England Patriots scout was in attendance to watch Williams practice. The day Williams was let go, a Tampa Bay Buccaneers scout was at practice anticipating the chance to watch Williams.
"It wasn't any legal issue or drugs," Williams said. "I didn't violate any team rule or NCAA rule. Coach said he didn't feel like it was best for the program for me to be in it."
Said McGee: "I want to clear it up. That kid has not gotten in any trouble around here. He is not a troublemaker. He has not failed any drug test. It's just the direction I'm headed in. The culture of the program has to change and the culture of the program overrides talent in my opinion."
McGee will get his first chance of continuing to change the culture of the program (without Williams) on Aug. 31. UAB takes on in-state rival, Troy, on the road.