TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Even before he arrived at the University of Alabama, Jonah Williams had a plan in mind.
It included spending only three years at college and leaving early for the National Football League. But only if he had his degree.
"I took AP classes my junior and senior years so I could have more credits and graduate early from high school and enroll early here and have that extra 15 [credit hours] that first semester," he said. "There were a lot of things that I did [to prepare for this]."
Friday afternoon, Williams was one of four players to announce he was leaving Alabama early to enter the NFL Draft, but his may have been the easiest decision.
He even had a plane ticket to fly to California on Friday afternoon to begin training for the 2019 NFL Draft, which will be held April 25-27 in Nashville. That's why Friday's press conference was held in the morning at the Mal Moore Athletic Complex.
Williams started all 44 games of his Crimson Tide career, playing his freshman season at right tackle and the final 29 at left tackle.
He did not surrender a sack during his senior season. Williams won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the top offensive linemen in the Southeastern Conference, was a unanimous All-American selection and a finalist for the Outland Trophy for best interior lineman.
It didn't quite all happen exactly like he envisioned, including the loss in the National Championship Game, but there was some flexibility in the plan.
"If the time wasn't right, and I came back for another year and got a master's degree and played another season, that would've been fine," he said. "But I just felt that the time was right. I feel like I've accomplished quite a bit here and I've put everything on tape.
"There's a lot of things that I can be proud of, and I think now is a good time to move on and try my luck at the next level.""
Williams will likely be the first tackle selected in the draft. Considering it's one of the biggest need position in the league his status almost guarantees being selected in the first half of the first round.
Nevertheless, he didn't skip watching the game film of the 44-16 loss to Clemson on Monday
“I watched the game a couple of times that night," he said. "Then I came back and watched it with the coaches the other day. Losses suck, but they are a learning experience. I don’t want to waste that learning experience by just saying, ‘Aw, I’m mad about this game because we lost and I don’t have anything to learn from it.’ We played a good Clemson team that was better than us that night, and I think you waste it or learn from it.”