Connor Williams to enter NFL Draft, skip bowl game

Trenton Daeschner

Junior left tackle Connor Williams is heading to the NFL.

Williams announced on Monday he will forgo his senior season to enter the 2018 NFL Draft. He will also skip the Longhorns’ bowl game.

“While it comes with some sadness, it also comes with the excitement of moving to the next challenge,” Williams said in a statement. “My family and I have decided it is my best interest to forgo the bowl game and my senior season to begin preparing for my professional football career.”

Williams had been projected as a first-round pick coming into the 2017 season. Before the year, he was also named a preseason first team All-American by the Associated Press.

But Williams experienced a major setback just three games into 2017. Williams sprained both his MCL and PCL and tore his meniscus in his left knee during the Longhorns’ 27-24 double-overtime road loss to then-No. 4 USC on Sept. 16.

Williams underwent arthroscopic surgery and missed Texas’ next seven games. He returned against West Virginia on Nov. 18 in Morgantown, providing a dominant performance to help the Longhorns win 28-14 and become bowl eligible for the first time since 2014.

“One of the reasons I worked so hard to come back from my injury was to help the team reach its goal of playing in a bowl game, and I’m proud we were able to accomplish that,” Williams said. “I will continue to support my teammates in their efforts to finish the season strong and in the continuing growth that is happening with Texas football.”