Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
A big wait off his mind
After a year of enforced idleness, WR Mike Williams, a product of Plant High and USC, is seen by experts as a top pick and sure NFL success.
By JOANNE KORTH
Published April 22, 2005
Tampa native Mike Williams has been waiting more than a year to hear his name announced. Waiting for his future to begin. Waiting for the NFL draft to start.
Once it does, Williams won't have to wait long.
Projected as a top-10 pick in Saturday's draft, the former Plant High and Southern Cal receiver could become the Tampa Bay area's highest drafted player - ever.
"He's the No. 1 player on my board," said ESPN's Mel Kiper, in his 23rd year analyzing the draft. "The kid's phenomenal."
Research indicates that 10 players who grew up in Tampa Bay - a geographic region that includes Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties - have been selected in the first round.
The highest pick was Robinson High running back Larry Smith, No. 8 by the Los Angeles Rams in 1969. The only other area player selected among the top 10 was the late Hernando High defensive tackle Jerome Brown, No. 9 by the Eagles in 1987.
Since Lakewood's William Floyd in 1994, only Zephyrhills defensive end Ryan Pickett cracked the first round, selected 29th by the St. Louis Rams in 2001.
Smith, who played at Florida, remembers his draft-day experience being a low-key affair.
"I was still in school in Gainesville and I was in my apartment," said Smith, 57, now a Tampa attorney, who had a five-year NFL career. "It was nothing like it is now. Essentially, you just waited for a phone call. It really didn't seem to have the same publicity."
Keeping Smith company while he waited for the phone to ring were his roommates, Tom Christian and Jim Yarbrough. Both played at UF and Yarbrough was drafted by the Lions. Smith doesn't recall if he went to class that day, but for the most part it was a normal school day for the future professional.
With one twist.
"It never turns out that you get drafted by who you think you're going to be drafted by," Smith said. "I talked to a whole bunch of clubs and then I was drafted by the Rams, and I was sort of surprised. I don't imagine that's changed much."
Amid the fanfare and suspense of live, pick-by-pick television coverage on ESPN, Williams, 21, will gather with family and friends at a barbecue restaurant in Tampa and - some things never change - wait for the phone to ring. But what's a few more hours? Williams already has waited more than a year.
Williams, who declined to be interviewed, played two years at Southern Cal, catching 81 passes for 1,265 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman. He increased his production to 95 catches for 1,314 yards and a school-record 16 touchdowns in 2003, helping the Trojans to the national championship.
He has not played since.
Projected to be a first-round pick in the 2004 draft, Williams left the Trojans and hired an agent after Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett successfully challenged an NFL rule requiring players to be at least three years removed from high school to be draft eligible.
When an appeals court overturned the decision, Clarett and Williams were stranded in no-man's land. Williams petitioned the NCAA for reinstatement but was turned down two days before the Trojans' season opener. There was nothing to do but wait.
And work out.
As the fine-tooth-comb process of ranking prospects for the 2005 draft began, Williams was an enigma. But unlike Clarett, whose skills diminished during two years away from football, Williams impressed scouts at the NFL combine in February and during a separate workout at the University of South Florida in March.
With no clear-cut No. 1 pick among seven talented players projected at the top of the draft - two quarterbacks, three running backs and two receivers - Williams has nabbed the attention of the Bears at No. 4, Bucs at No. 5 and Vikings at No. 7.
Williams otherwise could be reunited with his offensive coordinator at USC, Norm Chow, who recently was hired for a similar position with the Titans. But Tennessee, which picks sixth, likely has greater first-roundneeds than receiver.
"I think he'll be very successful in the NFL," Chow said. "He's big, he's strong, he's talented. He likes to play, likes to win and understands how to play the game. In college he was really unique. The college game was really too easy for him."
Though quarterbacks typically garner the most attention , Kiper predicts that in two years Williams will turn out to be this draft's most productive player.
"He's going to turn out to be the best player in this draft," Kiper said. "I think when we're talking a couple years from now, you'll look at Mike Williams and he'll be starring in this league. He'll be catching a ton of balls."