Hamilton, Williams to skip Irish bowl game for NFL draft

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Kyren Williams and Kyle Hamilton, two junior star players for No. 5 Notre Dame, announced Friday they will not play in the Fiesta Bowl against No. 9 Oklahoma State so they can instead prepare for the 2022 NFL draft.

The two were Associated Press preseason first-team All-Americans, running back Williams as the all-purpose player and Hamilton at safety They were also two of Notre Dame’s seven captains during an 11-1 season.

“Glory to the Lord! DREAM BIG,” tweeted the 5-foot-9, 199-pound Williams, who rushed for 1,002 yards and 14 touchdowns and also had 42 receptions for 359 yards and three scores. He also returned punts and kickoffs, averaging 128.4 yards per game in all-purpose yards.

“Thank you Notre Dame,” tweeted the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Hamilton, who injured his right knee in Notre Dame’s 31-16 victory over Southern California on Oct. 23 and missed the final five games. In seven games, Hamilton had 35 tackles, four passes broken up and three interceptions.

Notre Dame’s first practice for the Jan. 1 bowl game is Sunday under new coach Marcus Freeman.

Hamilton was expected to be a first-round pick while Williams would likely go later. Both explained their decisions on Twitter and offered their thanks.

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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