LB Williams granted release by Nebraska

One of the most heralded recruits in Nebraska's 2009 freshman class has been granted his release from the program, several Nebraska newspapers reported.

Linebacker Chris Williams was named the Texas Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year while at Abilene High School, making him he most heralded defensive recruit for coach Bo Pelini in his tenure at Nebraska.

The 6-foot, 220-pound linebacker sat out this season for the Cornhuskers as a redshirt. He had struggled in recovery from a knee injury that was sustained in the 10th game of his senior season.

The injury kept him from being included on the Cornhuskers' 105-man roster this fall as he rehabilitated during his redshirt season.

The Huskers beat out Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and LSU when they first recruited Williams.

If he's healthy, he would be an attractive recruit for all of those Big 12 programs and many others across the country.

It's a big loss for the Cornhuskers' program that will need some depth at linebacker with the loss of senior weakside starting linebacker Phillip Dillard and senior backup middle linebacker Colton Koehler after the Holiday Bowl.