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NFL draft prospect Jameson Williams wanted to return to title game despite injury

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NFL draft prospect Jameson Williams wanted to return to title game despite injury
Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jameson Williams is injured after a 40-yard catch against the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams, a top NFL Draft prospect, sustained a knee injury in the College Football Playoff title game and tried to return, but the medical staff held him out, coach Nick Saban said.

Saban spoke about Williams' left knee injury at his postgame news conference Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Georgia beat Alabama 33-18 to claim the National Championship.

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Saban said the team will wait for the results of additional scans and tests to determine the severity of the non-contact injury. The Alabama coach appeared to tell Georgia coach Kirby Smart that Williams injured his ACL when the two met at midfield after the final whistle.

"He has a knee injury," Saban said of Williams. "We won't know the extent of the knee injury until we get an MRI. He actually wanted to play in the second half and the medical staff wouldn't let him, which I think was smart because he has a future as a football player."

Williams was injured about three minutes into the second quarter. Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young took a snap from the Alabama 25-yard line at the start of the sequence. He dropped back in the pocket and launched a pass to the Georgia 45-yard line. Williams caught the pass and turned up the field.

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He attempted to make a move on Georgia defensive back Derion Kendrick, but his left foot stuck in the turf and he went down in pain.

Alabama staff members then escorted Williams off the field and he did not return. He finished the game with four catches for 65 yards.

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The Crimson Tide went on to make field goals on that possession and its next drive to take a 9-3 lead. Georgia bounced back with 10 unanswered points to take a 13-9 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Alabama rallied to take an 18-3 lead with 10:14 remaining, but Georgia scored three unanswered touchdowns down the stretch to seal the victory.

Williams, a junior, is expected to be a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, which is scheduled for April 28 to 30 in Las Vegas.

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"This guy contributed tremendously to our team all year," Saban said of Williams. "He has great speed. He's a vertical threat. I think our offensive coaches did a great job of utilizing his talent this year.

"He's been very productive. Anytime you lose players like this it has an impact on your team."

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