Texas left tackle Connor Williams to skip bowl game, enter NFL draft

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Last year began a trend of NFL draft prospects skipping their bowl games. This year it continues.

Texas left tackle Connor Williams, a junior with a year of NCAA eligibility remaining, announced today that he will enter the 2018 NFL draft and will not play in Texas’s 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 said. “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.”

A serious injury in a bowl game like the one Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith suffered in his last game at Notre Dame can cost a player millions of dollars, so it’s not surprising that so many players decide it’s not worth the risk. Some day soon it might be surprising when a draft prospect announces he will play in his bowl game.

27 responses to “Texas left tackle Connor Williams to skip bowl game, enter NFL draft

  1. Good for him. He was a great player for Texas. Wish him all the best as he moves forward in his football career.

  2. Pay them a nice bonus for playing in the bowl games, like the one’s ADs and coaches get. Oh wait…

  3. If the Giants season has proven anything, it’s that some teams consider quitting on your teammates to be an attractive quality in a player.

  4. This is why the bowl season will end as we know it sooner than later. Expand the playoffs to 12 teams and that is all we need for bowl games.

    Is anyone really going to be psyched to watch the Frisco bowl featuring Houston and N Illinois from Dallas?

  5. I love it, if you are not playing for a national championship why risk the potential loss of millions of dollars? Then again, I would probably love it even more if a high profile kid sat out the national championship. That would really send the NCAA a message. “Student Athletes”

  6. “Dude, finish what you started: it’s HOW you finish, dude.”

    Dude, you obviously don’t realize that for anyone who has a realistic chance at getting to the NFL, getting drafted IS finishing what he started. Not helping the bitter old men of the NCAA make their millions while he makes nothing.

  7. I don’t blame him look at just over the last two years both Jaylon Smith and Jake Butt suffered major knee injuries playing in a bowl game, and both of their draft stock was affected. The injury to Jaylon Smith cost him not only 15 million but possibly a promising career. These college coaches will criticize the players for not playing a bowl game when they would be quick to leave the team for a better job opportunity.

  8. Wow! Can’t believe he is not playing…now he won’t get
    the trinket watch and a game boy or some stupid video game,
    ( that costs the bowl and NCAA people nothing)
    While they make millions off of these kids.
    This is a great decision that he has the right to
    make. It should be respected.

  9. The problem with this narrative is that it does not discuss the upside of playing in a bowl or all-star game. Jaylon Smith did get injured, but for every Jaylon Smith there will be a Brian Urlacher who ups his stock because of his post-season play and not in spite of it.

    That being said, it would be foolish to make a guy play when his heart is not in it.

  10. If you decide to skip games, then the scholarship should be stripped and the player has to repay the cost of the tuition. I understand the risk of injury, but the school has paid a lot of money to players who will never sniff the NFL but gave them free educations. So NFL caliber players canlt just walk away once they know they are draftable.

  11. Self serving and definitely not team oriented. His choice but I’d have to think about his commitment to the team he joins. When is he going to make his “next” career decision?

  12. Anyone ever skip a final exam when no matter what grade you get it won’t change the final grade you will receive?

  13. He played like crap for most of this season, when he was on the field. I know many analysts had him pegged as a first rounder last year, but unless he shows some dramatic improvement while not playing, he should have stayed another year. His on field performance, before and after the injury, was not that great.

  14. anyone that is going to bash this kid should ask Willis mcgahee, jaylon smith and jake butt about the risks of playing in a bowl game

  15. I get the financial down-side reasons to do it. But it also has a air of running from competition–especially if Texas were to draw a team with a solid outside rusher like Missou’s Marcell Frazier (who has something to show if he wants to play in the NFL next year). Scouts evaluate Bowl games differently. If you play great in a bowl game, a player is said to have “intangibles” and a “gamer” attitude. To me, if I am a scout, you have to wonder if he was afraid that he might get shown up in a bowl game or not play hardest “when lights are brightest.”

    That being said, if he participates in the Senior Bowl, most will be forgiven.

  16. Bowl season has become passé. It’s all about money to the NCAA and the athletic departments, not about determining a champion.

    If the bowl season were replaced by a 16 team tournament (starting with the power 5 conference championship games), then it would be more likely to see players play out the tournament. Until then, can you really blame the players for not exposing themselves to potential injury?

  17. The day’s coming when a star running back sits out a Final Four game to protect his NFL chances. And I doubt it will hurt his draft stock.

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