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'Chicago Bears rookie draft picks Kendall Williamson, Terell Smith hail from hometown'

Two football players from the same town in Georgia, Kendall Williamson and Terell Smith, were both selected by the Chicago Bears in the 2023 NFL draft. Despite being rivals in high school, they are now teammates and have formed a bond based on their shared background.

Lake Forest, a town located in Snellville, Georgia, is the hometown of two NFL players, Kendall Williamson and Terell Smith. Although they grew up just 15 minutes away from each other, it wasn't until Smith committed to play football at Minnesota that Williamson first heard of him. Williamson's brother, Chris Williamson, was already on the Gophers' roster, and he mentioned Smith's commitment to Kendall. Chris and Smith played together for two seasons at Minnesota before Chris graduated. Kendall, however, took a different path and committed to play at Stanford.

Years later, both Williamson and Smith were selected by the Bears in the 2023 NFL draft. Smith, a cornerback, was chosen in the fifth round as the 165th overall pick, while Williamson, a safety, was selected in the seventh round as the 258th overall pick. Williamson narrowly missed out on being named "Mr. Irrelevant," a nickname given to the last player drafted each year.

Snellville is a small town with a population of around 20,000 people in Gwinnett County, just outside of Atlanta. Williamson attended Brookwood High School, while Smith went to South Gwinnett. Despite their proximity, they were rivals in their county and often played against each other.

Although they played in the same youth football leagues, they were never teammates. They only became aware of each other when they played against each other in varsity games. However, they had mutual acquaintances and knew of each other through the football community in their area.

The Bears had a total of 10 draft picks in 2023, with six selections made on the third day of the draft. The chances of a team drafting two players from the same town are quite slim, making Williamson and Smith's selection even more remarkable.

Both players have enjoyed getting to know each other over the past few months. Being able to connect with someone who shares a similar background and experience can be significant for rookies entering the NFL, where players come from various locations and backgrounds.

"It's been cool having somebody kind of from the same place, same area, playing on the same team together," said Kendall Williamson.

They are both determined to make the most of their rookie opportunities. Smith is competing against Tyrique Stevenson for a starting cornerback position and has been holding his own in the battle. Meanwhile, Williamson is currently listed as a third-string safety and is fighting for a spot on the roster. With established players like Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker in the starting lineup, it will be a challenging position to secure. Elijah Hicks and A.J. Thomas are listed as the primary backups at safety.

Both Williamson and Smith are embracing the challenge and working hard to prove themselves in their rookie season. Their shared background and connection from growing up in the same area have added an extra layer of camaraderie as they navigate their NFL careers together.

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