BRADENTON- Highly touted running back Jared Williams has been cleared to play tonight for Southeast, according to Paul Maechtle, the school's athletic director and head football coach.
The former Bradenton Prep standout was granted a waiver by an FHSAA sectional appeals committee on Thursday that allowed him to play against Bayshore tonight pending receipt of an official transcript.
Maechtle said the paper work was sent off around noon today and an FHSAA official told him Williams could play.
The committee ruled in Williams' favor after listening to testimony from the senior, his parents and Maechtle.
However, several pages of Williams’ transcript were missing in the paper work he submitted to the committee. It would not allow its ruling to take effect until the FHSAA received the full transcript, which showed the 5-10, 190 pound tailback is academically eligible.
That has been done and Williams can play tonight, Maechtle reiterated.
The playoffs are another matter.
Southeast has two regular season games left, but Williams will have to receive a waiver from FHSAA Executive Director Roger Dearing to be able to participate in the playoffs.
As district champion, Southeast has qualified for the playoffs and will play its first round game at home.
The FHSSA has a ruling that a student must play in four regular season games to be eligible for the football playoffs and Williams will have to file an appeal with Dearing. Several committee members indicated that could be ruled on fairly quickly.
“Things went the right way. I think everybody understands that,” said Jared's father Walt Williams. “He is young man that really deserves it and I believe God works through mysterious ways. I am sure all the other stuff will be put in place.
"Mr. Dearing will have to make the decision about the playoffs and I think it will still play out in our favor. I feel excellent about everything.”
Williams will join a talented backfield that includes Noles leading rusher Brian Poole, who is considered Manatee County’s top college prospect in the class of 2012.
Williams put up astonishing numbers for Bradenton Prep gaining more than 3,800 yards with 55 touchdowns. As a junior, last season he rushed for more than 1,900 yards and scored 27 touchdowns.
The FHSAA has a ruling that if he student plays for one school he cannot play for another until the next school year. Walt Williams said Bradenton Prep shut down its football program and then closed down leaving his son no choice but to transfer.