Sometimes the sports gods have a sense of humor. For example, a player named Nomar Garciaparra (and the multiple "ar" sounds in his name) landing in Boston, with the natives' ridiculous accent, is funny to me.
Sometimes the sports gods are cruel. Refer to the entire sports history of the city of Cleveland for more information on this.
And sometimes the sports gods have a cruel sense of humor.
Meet Stanley Williams, a blue chip, high school running back in the state of Georgia.
Williams just finished up his junior football season at the George Walton Academy in Bethlehem, GA. As one of the top rated running backs in the class of 2014, Williams has garnered offers from about half the SEC and has the interest of numerous other schools, including the University of Notre Dame.
Right here is where I'd normally mention that Williams is "verbally committed" to the University of Georgia, except for two things -- 1. These verbal commitments, especially with juniors, aren't worth the keys that I'm using to type about them, and 2. Williams appears to be a bit of a kook. You'll see, keep reading.
Naturally, as a verbally committed high school football player in 2013, Williams is still actively entertaining offers from and visits to virtually every school on his wish list. (Basically, verbal commitments for high school football players are a lot like Tiger Woods' marital vows. They don't really matter. Think of the SEC as every skanky Perkins waitress you've ever met. Does that help?)
As mentioned earlier, Notre Dame has been one of the schools interested in Williams' services. Makes sense. 4.39 forty yard dash don't lie. According to a handful of online reports, Williams was on campus in South Bend this weekend for a junior day. In fact, according to Blue Gold Illustrated, Williams had one hell of a time!
On the overall visit, Williams said:
"The visit went great. It was great to experience something new and different, and we had a great time at the game. I had been looking forward to it for a while, and it was great to just get out there and see a new place. I plan on getting up there a couple more times in the future."
On his meeting with his recruiting coach Scott Booker and on possibly getting an offer:
"We had a great talk. They said I could be expecting an offer down the road and that I'd have the chance to come play for them and go to their school. It's nice to know that I'll have an offer on the way, so I'm just going to wait for that patiently. Coach Booker said that he would be coming back down to Georgia to see me again, so I'm looking forward to that."
On where Notre Dame ranks on his list of schools:
"Before I took the visit I was very interested in them since they were coming by my school and showing interest in me. After taking the visit there, they are definitely high up there on my list and a factor in my recruitment. They're definitely an option for me to go to. I'm just looking forward to continuing building our relationship."
Well, Williams gives a pretty vivid description of his trip, doesn't he? He got to go to a basketball game, visit with the coaches, and even has
delusions aspirations of receiving an offer imminently. Pretty much a perfect visit, right?
Yeah, only one problem. The trip never happened.
According to Blue and Gold Illustrated's Jason Sapp, Williams never visited South Bend this past weekend:
— Jason Sapp (@BGI_JasonSapp) January 21, 2013
So for the second time in less than a week, and once again not of the school's own doing, Notre Dame is somehow at the center of a hoax, or at the very least, some blatant lies. First, it was the outrageous, internet-destroying Manti Te'o "fake dead girlfriend" hoax that seemingly stopped time last week. And now this.
For some reason, in an oddly cruel twist of fate, Notre Dame is all of a sudden attracting liars and scammers like mosquitos to a blue light, a hoax bug zapper of sorts. To Williams' credit, unlike Lennay Kekua, the nonexistent love of Manti Te'o's life, at least he (a) is an actual person and (b) merely concocted a lie about an unofficial college visit, and not something as ultra sensitive as leukemia. So congratulations, Stanley. You're better than the worst internet scum. Way to go.
Nobody really knows what Williams' motivation was for lying about a visit, and fabricating such intricate details. If he was doing it as some sort of joke, then he probably picked the wrong week to do that to Notre Dame (as if the right week to do it to anyone exists). If he was trying to become the first person to "catfish" himself, then I applaud the effort, misguided as it may be. If he was overtaken by some sort of split personality disorder, well, he wouldn't be the first Georgia running back....
We don't know why Williams did this, but for what it's worth, he issued an apology, via Irish Illustrated:
UGA commit Stanley Williams apologizes about hoax visit to Notre Dame. "It was all just a big misunderstanding and I apologize for it."
— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) January 21, 2013
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All right, Stanley. No problem. Apology accepted, But I probably wouldn't hold my breath on that offer from Notre Dame.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.