Junior linebacker Tim Williams announced Wednesday he'll return to Alabama for his senior year.
Williams broke the news on Twitter:
Coming back to play with my brothers. We can win this thing again baby!! RTR.— Timmy Soldado (@JaYbOi225) January 13, 2016
Williams finished 2015 second on the Crimson Tide in sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (12.5). Both represented a significant improvement over his sophomore season, when he recorded 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss.
According to Matt Zenitz of AL.com, Williams told reporters he received a late-first or an early second-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board. However, Zenitz wrote head coach Nick Saban "strongly advised" Williams to put the draft off another year.
Staying in school is the smarter decision for Williams, who failed to crack the top 300 on the big board of Bleacher Report's Matt Miller. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. was much higher on Williams' ability, listing him as the third-best outside linebacker. CBS Sports considered him to be a 2017 prospect, ranking him eighth among draft-eligible OLBs.
Alex Byington of the Decatur Daily argued Williams would help his draft stock by becoming a more consistent defender:
Not at all surprising Tide LB Tim Williams is returning given how much he still has to show as an every-down player. https://t.co/8eVSYmWu7r— Alex Byington (@abyingtonTD) January 14, 2016
The Crimson Tide won't be lacking in talented players along the front seven next year, particularly with defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand and linebacker Rashaan Evans coming back. Having Williams for his senior season is still a major boost to the defense. He could be one of the premier pass-rushers in college football in 2016.
Another good season will only improve Williams' chances of becoming a first-round draft pick as well. Especially since he'll likely have a more prominent role on the Crimson Tide, he can truly emerge as a dominant presence coming off the edge.