BEVO BEAT

All-American Connor Williams nears return as Texas closes in on the end of its regular season

Posted October 30th, 2017

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Soon, Texas may plug a hole on its offensive line.

Junior left tackle Connor Williams “is close” to a return, UT coach Tom Herman told reporters on Monday. Williams has not played since he sustained a knee injury at USC on Sept. 16.

Herman said the thought of Williams returning for next week’s home game against Kansas is “optimistic, and the following week might be a little bit more realistic.” Texas travels to West Virginia on Nov. 18 before closing out the regular season against Texas Tech on Nov. 24.

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Herman said Williams partook in on-field drills in cleats on Monday morning. Those drills consisted of Williams “changing direction, cutting, planting.”

“We’ll see where he’s at with a full week of doing those drills,” Herman said.

The 6-6, 315-pound Williams earned All-American accolades as a sophomore. He has been projected by some as a first-round draft pick. The return of Williams would bring some stability to an offensive line that has started three different combinations in the five games since his injury. Senior Tristan Nickelson and sophomore Denzel Okafor have filled in for Williams.

At 31.3 points per game, Texas ranks 46th nationally in scoring offense.

Texas defensive back P.J. Locke III (11) tackles Oklahoma State wide receiver Jalen McCleskey (1) at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Oct. 21, 2017. Locke may miss UT’s game against TCU with an ankle injury. (Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)

Williams is joined on this week’s injury report by fellow captain P.J. Locke III. Locke, a junior nickelback, suffered an ankle injury in a 38-7 win over Baylor this past weekend, and Herman said it was “very doubtful” he’d play against TCU on Saturday. Locke is backed up by senior Antwuan Davis on UT’s depth chart.

Freshman running back Toneil Carter is still being evaluated for a head injury. Carter ran for a game-high 70 yards against Baylor.

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