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Why Trent Williams felt comfortable coming back to OU

1/20/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

There was an interesting story in the Oklahoman over the weekend about the reason why offensive tackle Trent Williams made the surprising decision to return to school rather than declaring for the NFL draft.

Oklahoman reporter Jake Trotter wrote that Williams, the lone returning starter on the Sooners' offensive line, reached out to his old roommate Malcolm Kelly for advice on his decision. Kelly and Williams both grew up in Longview, Texas, and share an amount of trust.

Kelly declared early for the NFL draft as a junior last season and was picked in the second round by the Washington Redskins.

Kelly's struggling rookie season obviously caught the attention of his old roommate, as did his paychecks. Knee problems limited Kelly to five games with the Redskins, where he produced only three receptions for 18 yards and he didn't play in his team's final three games.

Williams likely would have been a second-round selection if he had declared for the draft this year. But by returning to school he also will come closer to getting his degree and provide himself the chance to break into the first round with a big season.

It's a gamble, but Williams has the opportunity to do something that will make him much more marketable for next season's draft. He likely will switch to left tackle, where he will be directly responsible for protecting quarterback Sam Bradford's blind side.

Considering he will be flanked by four new starters, Williams will be in the spotlight more than any other offensive linemen in the country.

Williams couldn't ask for more exposure for a college lineman.

But will he be able to produce in his new role?

It's a risk that Williams obviously felt comfortable in making.