Caleb Williams (r.) is joining Lincoln Riley (l.) out west.Photo: Getty Images
Caleb Williams officially twisted the knives Lincoln Riley stuck in the backs of Oklahoma fans when he left for Southern California as the talented QB announced Tuesday he’s following his coach to USC. He did so via tweet, featuring videos with appearances by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Will Ferrell.
Despite my description of that tweet sounding like a Teen Choice Awards promo circa 2007, the video is a reminder of how prolific and dangerous the recently awakened college football giant can be with the right coach and recruiting. The talent is already rolling in, and now Riley has his Heisman candidate.
When Williams entered the portal, his father Carl cited professional development as the driving factor behind his son’s transfer.
I’m not going to dispute Riley’s ability to get his quarterbacks to the next level — Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray each won the Heisman Trophy under him, and getting Jalen Hurts drafted in the second round might be even more impressive than getting those two drafted first overall. That said, all three of those QBs are trending down in the NFL.
Mayfield is the most visible of the three, garnering enough TV ads to make you think he’s Patrick Mahomes and not the guy who threw 17 touchdowns to 13 interceptions and missed the playoffs this season. Murray was an MVP candidate and the Cardinals were a one seed before Deandre Hopkins got injured, he dropped off, they fell to the fifth seed, and got demolished by the Rams, 34-11, in the opening round of the playoffs. As far as Hurts goes, he led the Eagles to the last spot in the playoffs (or the Eagles got to playoffs in spite of him) only to be routed by the Bucs, 31-15.
There’s no doubt in my mind Williams will succeed as a Trojan. I only half jokingly wrote he should win the Heisman after his crazy comeback win against Texas, and the Pac 12 sets up as favorably, if not more so, than the Big 12 from a stats, competition, and wins standpoint. He’ll record the requisite numbers to get drafted, maybe even win a Heisman and go to the Playoff, but if…