Williams and Hamilton declare for draft, will not play in Fiesta Bowl
Mannion McGinley | Friday, December 10, 2021
Irish juniors, safety Kyle Hamilton and running back Kyren Williams, declared for the 2022 NFL Draft on Friday afternoon.
The pair each sent statements out through social media, thanking their teammates, friends, coaches, families, professors, fans and the “greatest university in the world.”
Hamilton earns accolades despite shortened season
Hamilton, standing at 6’4” and 220 lbs., had 35 tackles on the season, 19 alone and 16 assisted. All of this tacked on to 139 career tackles, 87 of which were solos. Hamilton started the season on both the Walter Camp and the Associated Press Preseason All-American Teams. He opened week one as the Lott IMPACT player of the week. In week three, he put on a show against the Purdue Boilermakers, grabbing his third interception in as many games and tying a career-high of 10 tackles.
Because of that performance, Hamilton earned three defensive awards in one week. He earned The Athlon and Walter Camp’s Defensive Player of the Week awards. He added the Bednarik Award Player of the Week for his efforts. At midseason, The Associated Press maintained his position on their All-American roster. CBS Sports and The Athletic kept Hamilton on their All-American First Teams.
Despite suffering a season-ending injury in the first quarter of Notre Dame’s 31-16 win over USC, Hamilton still made the Walter Camp First Team All-American to end the season. This was announced just 16 hours before Hamilton made his decision to depart.
“The relationships I have made the past three years are invaluable,” Hamilton said. “And remind me that my decision as a 17-year-old to come to the University of Notre Dame was the best decision of my life.”
Williams captains Irish offense
Hamilton’s junior year exit is one that Irish fans expected but Williams’ flew a bit further under the radar. That is until his season took an upward turn and the running back took off — quite literally.
The 5’9” running back posted his second 1000+ yard season in two years this season with 1002 yards. Last year, he came up with 1125. He’s had 31 touchdowns in his career at Notre Dame, 17 of them this season. Williams has also turned himself into a reliable receiving option this year. He had 42 receptions on the year for 359 yards (out of 675 career receiving yards) and three touchdowns.
Williams was also named to the Associated Press Preseason All-American Team. Williams has been on the Paul Hornung Award honor roll five different times: week three, week six and weeks 8-10.
Neither Hamilton nor Williams will compete in the Fiesta Bowl; the Irish take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Jan. 1.