SEATTLE -- Reggie Williams is heading for pro football, just asconfident about his draft prospects as he is on the field.
The standout Washington receiver said Monday he will skip hissenior season and enter the NFL draft.
'I believe I'm going to be the first pick,' Williams said. 'I'mgoing to strive hard, work hard in the offseason, preparing for thecombine and the workouts I'm going to have. Hopefully, I'm going tobe the top pick.'
Williams showed up for his farewell news conference dressed in aleather sport coat, a white shirt and yellow tie. He hasn't selectedan agent but will do so later this week.
He called it a difficult decision. Williams consulted his family,as well as Washington coach Keith Gilbertson and 'various NFLpeople' before deciding to leave school.
'I just believe it's the best decision for me,' Williams said. 'Iweighed all my options. I can't wait to get to the next level, a newchallenge.'
Williams was a first-team All-American as a sophomore, setting asingle-season school receiving record with 94 catches for 1,454yards and 11 touchdowns.
'Do I want him to leave? Heck no. What coach would?' Gilbertsonsaid. 'But I want what's best for Reggie and if he's ready to go,I'm all for it.'
Last fall, Williams had 89 receptions for 1,109 yards with eightTDs. It was easier for opponents to defend him in 2003 becauseWashington had several young receivers step in for graduatedseniors.
'Reggie's numbers are phenomenal,' Gilbertson said. 'Hugecatches, big yards, touchdowns, player of the week. The thing thatReggie brought to the ballpark every Saturday is that he always cameto play.'
Gilbertson, an assistant with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks from1996-98, believes Williams is physically and emotionally matureenough to step into the NFL.
'He would do anything: return kicks, block kicks, cover kicks,'Gilbertson said. 'He'd do anything for the team to be successful. Tome, that's the impact of Reggie Williams.'
Williams said he's disappointed about leaving Washington withouta Rose Bowl appearance or a national title, two reasons he was drawnto the Huskies coming out of high school in Lakewood.
He said, however, he was proud of the way his teammates foughtthrough adversity during two up-and-down seasons.
'Sometimes, we got knocked down but this team always got back upand kept fighting,' Williams said. 'We got blown out one week butwe'd come back stronger and win, whoever it might be.'
He plans to complete a degree by 2005.
'That's a promise I made to my mom and dad, and to myself, to getmy degree real soon,' Williams said. 'I just can't wait to get tothe next level. It's been a dream of mine since I was a little kid.'