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Alabama’s Jameson Williams, Evan Neal, Phidarian Mathis enter draft

Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Evan Neal (73) in action during the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Three key players off Alabama’s College Football Playoff finalist team say they are entering the NFL draft.

Wide receiver Jameson Williams, offensive tackle Evan Neal and defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis all announced they won’t return to Tuscaloosa for the 2022 season.

Williams made his announcement Thursday at the end of a highlight-reel video he posted to his Instagram account.

“Bama fans, thank y’all for welcoming me and making Tuscaloosa home for me and my family,” he posted, in part. “With all that being said, I am starting the next chapter and taking my talents to the 2022 NFL Draft.”

Williams, a junior, had been viewed as a first-round pick before Monday’s national championship game, in which he sustained a knee injury. ESPN reported he tore the ACL in his left knee during the 33-18 Georgia victory.

The receiver played one season at Alabama after transferring from Ohio State. He led the Crimson Tide with 79 receptions for 1,572 yards, scoring 15 touchdowns and averaging 104.8 yards per game over 15 games.

Another junior, Neal also declared for the draft on Thursday after a big season that saw him earn All-America honors. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. lists the 360-pound left tackle as the top offensive tackle in the draft.

“It’s been a hell of a ride Bama nation! Now it’s on to the next chapter,” he posted to Twitter. “Roll tide forever!!”

Mathis announced Wednesday that he was giving up his final year of eligibility. The 6-foor-4 lineman had 53 tackles (12 for loss) nine sacks, six quarterback hits, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.

Kiper lists him as the No. 5 defensive tackle available.

–Field Level Media

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