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Texas OT Connor Williams intends to enter 2018 NFL Draft

One of college football's top offensive linemen is moving on to the next level.

Texas OT Connor Williams, a junior, announced on Monday that he intends to apply for early eligibility into the 2018 NFL Draft. He also plans to skip the Longhorns' bowl game.

"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 stated in a press release from the school. "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.

"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."

Williams had a trying year in 2017, missing time with a knee injury. He suffered a sprained PCL and MCL as well as a torn meniscus in his left knee against USC in the third game of the season. He missed 7 games but returned earlier this month and showed the form that made him one of the elite prospects at his position.

He's a rare talent who can dominate whether he's run blocking or pass protecting. Before the season, analyst Daniel Jeremiah compared him to the 49ers' Joe Staley.

Of course, the decision to sit out of the bowl game might raise some eyebrows. Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey elected to sit out of their bowl games last season, and while they faced criticism for their decision, it didn't appear to hurt them in the draft.

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