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- American football player
Alabama receiver Jameson Williams has declared for the NFL draft, he announced on Instagram on Thursday.
He becomes the second junior from Alabama's 2021 roster to declare. Offensive tackle Evan Neal also announced he will enter the 2022 NFL Draft.
Williams transferred from Ohio State, where he only caught 15 passes for 266 yards over his first two seasons, during the previous offseason.
He became one of the top receivers in college football in 2021. Williams caught 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns in his lone season with the Crimson Tide.
He displayed elite, next-level speed in the process. He caught four touchdowns of 70-plus yards, an Alabama single-season record and a mark that led the NCAA.
His 2021 season would have made him all but guaranteed to be a first round pick, but he suffered a knee injury – reportedly a torn ACL – in the College Football Playoff championship against Georgia that could affect his draft status.
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ESPN reported that Williams will have surgery soon, but that doctors believe he will "retain his sub 4.3 speed, and they expect a full recovery."
Williams returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in 2021, both of which came in the same game against Southern Miss.
The St. Louis native was named an All-SEC first team receiver by the media and coaches.
Two of his most pivotal and impressive plays from the season came in the SEC championship game against Georgia. The first touchdown helped Alabama jump into the game after Georgia gained a 10-0 lead. Williams took a pass over the middle and outran the Bulldogs to the end zone for a 67-yard touchdown.
Then at the start of the second half, Williams sneaked behind two defenders and caught a 55-yard score on a perfect throw from quarterback Bryce Young.
The national championship game gave a taste of whom Alabama could turn to without Williams in 2022. Ja'Corey Brooks, Agiye Hall and JoJo Earle are three freshmen receivers who will likely have an opportunity to make contributions early in their sophomore seasons.
Brooks, the Iron Bowl hero, caught six passes on nine targets for 47 yards in the title game. Agiye Hall caught two passes on eight targets for 52 yards. Slade Bolden, who joined Alabama starting with the 2018 season, led the team with seven receptions on nine targets for 44 yards in the loss to Georgia.
John Metchie III, who led Alabama with 97 receptions this season, could also return if he chooses. He has eligibility remaining, but he could also follow Williams and declare for the draft. He also is dealing with a knee injury that he suffered in the SEC championship game.
Contact Alabama reporter Nick Kelly: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams declares for NFL draft