College Football

Caleb Williams Leaves USC as he Declares for the 2024 NFL Draft

It did not come as a shock yesterday when USC quarterback and 2022 Heisman trophy winner Caleb Williams declared for the 2024 NFL Draft. Williams waited until the last possible instance to declare for the draft as the deadline to declare was January 15.

The 22-year-old is now predicted to be the No. 1 draft pick this year and is projected to go to the Chicago Bears as the franchise holds the first-round pick. While the USC Trojans did not have the best 2023-24 season, Williams’ journey to the NFL Draft remains impressive despite the team’s various upsets this past season. 

Williams’ Early Life:

Williams was born and raised in Washington D.C., where he would see his football career start and flourish. The D.C. native attended Gonzaga College High School where he would lead his team to win the 2018 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Championship as a sophomore on the team. Williams was named the Washington D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year after his on-field performance. 

He continued to impress the high school football world in his junior year in 2019, but unfortunately, the skilled player lost his senior season of high school football to COVID-19. Despite losing his senior season to COVID-19, the 5-star quarterback was ranked the No. 1 quarterback of the 2021 recruiting class and the 4th overall prospect. On July 4, 2020, Williams announced his commitment to the University of Oklahoma, choosing the Sooners over LSU and Maryland. 

The Start of Williams’ Collegiate Career Journey:

Williams started his collegiate football career at the University of Oklahoma in 2021 and was the backup quarterback to former Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler. The Washington D.C. native made his quarterback debut halfway through the Sooners’ biggest rivalry game of the season on October 9, 2021, against the Texas Longhorns. 

The Sooners started the rivalry game under the guidance of quarterback Spencer Rattler, but after overturning the ball twice in the first half and falling to the Longhorns 28-7, former OU coach Lincoln Riley decided to let the true freshman quarterback take the reins. Williams made play after play and led his team to a 55-48 win over the University of Texas.

Following his impressive performance in the rivalry game, Lincoln Riley named Williams the starting quarterback for the following week’s game against the TCU Horned Frogs just moments before kickoff. 

On November 28, 2021, Riley announced his decision to leave his head coaching position at the University of Oklahoma for the University of Southern California. On January 3, 2022, Williams announced that he was exploring all his options by entering the NCAA transfer portal. 

On February 1, 2022, the D.C. native announced he would leave the Sooners to join his former coach, Lincoln Riley, with the USC Trojans. Williams wanted to attend an institution where he could grow both on and off the football field and after spending time with Riley at Oklahoma, he decided that USC was the most suitable option. 

Williams’ Time at USC:

Before officially making his decision, Williams had waited till right before USC’s deadline for full-time students to enroll in courses. The quarterback enrolled in USC in the Spring 2022 semester and was named the Trojans’ starting quarterback on August 25, 2022, after a semester and summer of training with the team. 

The D.C. native had his USC debut on September 3, 2022, when the Trojans competed against Rice. In his first game with USC, Williams led his team to a 66-14 victory over Rice after rushing 249 yards and securing two touchdowns. Williams would continue to lead his new team throughout the season as the Trojans ended the 2022-23 season 11-3.

Following his impressive performance as USC’s new starting quarterback, he was named the AP College Football Player of the Year. Williams became the first player in USC history to win this award since Reggie Bush claimed it in 2005. 

At the conclusion of his sophomore season, after throwing 4,075 yards, 37 touchdown passes, and rushing 10 touchdowns, Williams became USC’s seventh Heisman trophy recipient. Williams was widely considered the best quarterback after claiming the most prestigious trophy in college football. 

As Williams ended his sophomore season on a high note following the Heisman award, fans were excited to see how the Trojans would do in the 2023-24 season. Unfortunately, the odds were not in the Trojans’ favor. 

Williams started his junior season in a game against San José State University, where he rushed 278 yards and scored 4 touchdowns, leading his team to a 56-28 win over SJSU. While Williams himself had an impressive season rushing over 3,600 yards and scoring 30 touchdowns, the Trojans ended the season with a record of 8-5 and no chance at the National Championship title. 

Delving Into the Start of his Professional Career:

Despite the Trojans’ struggles this past season, the 2022 Heisman winner is still widely considered the best quarterback in college football. Williams has impressive on-field statistics and there is no better time for the D.C. native to forgo his collegiate career and declare for the NFL Draft. 

Williams has had a long journey to get to where he is today after losing his senior high school season to COVID-19, being named the starting quarterback amid Oklahoma’s biggest rivalry game, and transferring to a brand new institution. Williams was waiting for the best time to declare for the draft, and 2024 seems to be his year, as he is projected to be the No. 1 pick for the Chicago Bears.

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