On Friday evening, Connor Williams became the first former Texas Longhorns talent taken off the board in the 2018 NFL Draft, as the Dallas Cowboys drafted the junior left tackle with the 50th pick — the Coppell native is headed back home.
In just three seasons at Texas, Williams reached heights largely unexpected considering he arrived in Austin as a three-star prospect ranked as the No. 44 offensive tackle in his class. Williams capped his debut season in 2015 as a first-team freshman All-American, and the following year, Williams blossomed into an All-Big 12 selection and a consensus first-team All-American. The latter honor made Williams the fourth player in Longhorns history to earn All-American honors as a true sophomore, joining Hub Bechtol (1944), Russell Erxleben (1976) and Earl Thomas (2009).
It was clear by that point that his third season on the Forty Acres would be his last.
Ahead of his junior campaign, preseason projections favored Williams as a top-10 pick as arguably the top offensive line prospect in his class. However, Williams suffered a torn meniscus and sprained ligaments in his knee in the third game against USC, which forced him to the sidelines for the next seven games.
Williams made his return in mid-November against West Virginia and played the final two games of the regular season, but with his NFL upside and early-round projections still intact post injury, the Coppell product bypassed the Texas Bowl match up with Missouri and turned his attention towards the NFL Draft.
On Thursday, that attention, as well as the effort put forth throughout the past three years, paid off in the form of Williams becoming the first former Longhorn taken off the board. In doing so, Williams become the first Texas offense lineman drafted since Tony Hills in 2008.
“UT provided all of the opportunities I could have ever imagined from getting there as a freshman,” Williams said via 247Sports. “Whether it being academically, or as an athlete, it’s been a huge journey during my three years at Texas, but it has prepared me for where I’m at now.”