Recent Caleb Williams Notes
USC’s loss to Oregon exposes clear flaws in program-building up front
Pac-12 football thoughts: Is Utah’s Kyle Whittingham the choice for Coach of the Year?
Around the Pac-12: Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr. meet with Heisman dreams and playoff hopes at stake; recruiting rankings; NIL changes
Big Ten depth pulling ahead of SEC thanks to West Coast influence:
USC takeaways: Lincoln Riley pushes talented Trojans to hone their killer instinct
Recent Caleb Williams Features
CFB Bowl Notebook: USC's Caleb Williams opts out
NFL week 11 Preview: Chiefs Host Eagles; Cowboys, Lions and Dolphins Hope to Avoid Letdowns
CFB Week 10 Review: Georgia TE Brock Bowers Is Back
AP Top 25: Georgia No. 1, No Changes in First Eight
AP Top 25: Georgia Still No.1, USC KO'd from List
Week 12: Williams did well in a 38-20 loss to crosstown rival UCLA, completing 31 of 42 passes for 384 yards, one touchdown and one interception. After an emotional meltdown in the arms of his mother following the loss to Oregon, Williams opted not to talk to reporters after the UCLA game, which may be his final showing with USC. The Trojans are bowl eligible. If Williams is leaving for the NFL, he has no reason to play in whatever mid-level bowls that invite 7-5 teams. In theory, Williams could be the first player to skip a bowl game before deciding whether to enter the NFL draft. One of his options will be to return to USC. But he won’t be able to make a fully informed decision until he knows the draft order. — FC
Week 11: Out of the CFP chase and out of AP's Top 25 for the first time in Coach Lincoln Riley's tenure, USC received no pity from Oregon and its Heisman candidate, QB Bo Nix, who threw for 412 yards and four touchdowns in the Ducks' 36-27 win in Eugene. Williams completed 19 of 34 for 291 yards with one TDP and one rushing score. For the first time in years, USC will close the season against UCLA with nothing really on the line. — FC
Week 10: On a night when defense was optional a sold out crowd at the Los Angeles Coliseum watched Williams push the Trojans to 515 total yards as he dashed and darted to avoid constant pressure. He completed 27 of 35 passes for 312 yards and three TDPs and another score rushing. But the reigning Heisman Trophy winner was upstaged by one of this year's top Heisman Candidates, Washington QB Michael Penix Jr., who guided the unbeaten Huskies to 572 total yards while completing 22 of 30 for 256 yards with two TDPs, one rushing TD and an interception. Washington outlasted USC, 52-42, dashing Williams' hopes of another Heisman, the Trojans hopes of a spot in the CFP tournament. And defensive coordinator Alex Grinch was fired the next day. Williams tried to do too much and made errors that cost the team at least ten points in a ten-point loss. — FC
Week 9: In a Berkeley barnburner, Willams and the Trojans trailed most of the game, but outlasted the Golden Bears, 50-49. Williams and RB MarShawn Lloyd led three USC touchdown drives in the fourth to erase a 14-point deficit. Looking to bounce back from two tough outings (Notre Dame and Utah), Williams exhibited the big-play threat as a passer that won him the Heisman a season ago. He threw for 369 yards and two touchdowns. His second, a 22-yarder to Brenden Rice, showcased his ability to throw on the move. He ran for a TD as well, his eighth rushing score of the season. — JH
Week 8: Williams stretched his bad fortune to two consecutive losses, dropping another game to Utah, 34-32. His performance was so-so, for him, completing 24 of 34 for 256 yards. He was sacked five times, so protection continues to be an issue. However, Williams not only snappped his streak of 21 consecutive games with a passsing touchdown — USC's longest since Matt Leinart — but he further worsened his attempt at a Heisman repeat by pouting on the bench after that game, not shaking hands with the victorious Utes or talking with the media. Coach Lincoln Riley sort of covered for Williams by not allowing the media to talk to any of the Trojans. FWIW, as of Tuesday after the game, Riley was still home with the flu and missed practices for the next game, against Cal. — FC
Week 7: Williams heretofore brilliant season came to a crashing halt in USC's 48-20 loss at Notre Dame — and perhaps along with it, his chances at winning his second consecutive Heisman Trophy. Williams had a brutal first half, throwing three interceptions, all of which led to Notre Dame touchdowns. He went into the game with one pick all season. The dual-threat QB stablized in the second half, but by that point the outcome was decided. USC actually ran 25 plays more than Notre Dame, but five turnovers, including Williams three INTs, were killer. In Williams' defense, he was under terrific pressure most of the game, as the Fighting Irish sacked him seven times. — JH
Week 6: Williams killed Arizona with his legs in 'SC's thrilling three-overtime win over the Wildcats, 43-41. The defending Heisman winner ran for 69 yards and three scores in keeping USC undefeated. In terms of his passing, Williams posted, for him, some fairly pedestrian stats against Arizona — 14-of-25 for 219 yards and one TD pass — odd in a game saw a combined 84 points. His 8.8 yards per attempt were the lowest of the season, the first time under 10 yards in a game. Williams was also sacked a season-high three times.
Week 5: Improving to 5-0 with a 48-41 win over Colorado, Williams went 30-40 for 403 yards and six passing touchdowns (both season highs). He did throw his first interception of the season and was sacked twice. It was the first time this season he played the entire game as USC fought off a strong comeback by the Buffaloes.
Week 4: USC moved to 4-0 with a 42-28 win versus Arizona State. Williams led an offense that had 535 total yards of offense going 21 of 32 for 336 yards and three touchdowns. He added 18 yards and two touchdowns rushing. He did have two fumbles (one lost) and was sacked twice.
Week 3: DNP, USC had the week off.
Week 2: USC amassed 573 yards of offense in a 56-10 win over Stanford. Williams completed 19 of 21 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 21 yards and a touchdown rushing in the game. Williams kept his chances of being the second player ever to win back-to-back Heisman trophies strong.
Week 1: After throwing for 278 yards and four TDs in a Week 0 win over San Jose State, Williams tossed more touchdown passes (five) than incompletions (four) in the first half of USC’s 66-14 win over Nevada. He also produced some ridiculous highlights. Williams finished the game 18-of-24 passing for 319 yards and those five scores and looks poised to be the first player since Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975 to win back-to-back Heismans. -- FC
Week 0: In a 56-28 thumping of San Jose State, Williams looked like somebody who didn’t want to yield his Heisman Trophy-winner status this season. He was excellent, completing 18 of 25 passes for 278 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions, despite pressure by San Jose State that had him on the run often. Williams led the Trojans on six touchdown drives in eight possessions. Most notable was a play in the second quarter when Williams, who set up the drama by dropping the shotgun snap, scrambled out of trouble and fired a sizzling 76-yard touchdown pass to Tahj Washington. — FC
Caleb Williams is nothing short of a dynamo in the realm of college football. A living testament to prodigious athleticism, arm talent that is virtually unrivaled, and a shrewd football intellect, Williams is the fulcrum of a new era. His meteoric rise to the zenith of stardom at both Oklahoma and USC is jaw-dropping, considering he is only two years out of high school. Fresh off a Heisman Trophy victory last season, he seems poised to do nothing but ascend even further.
Yet, the only negative preventing him from sharing the pantheon with legendary figures like Luck, Elway, and Mahomes is his modest height. Listed at 6-1, NFLDraftScout.com has his exact measurement at 6005, or six feet, five eighths of an inch -- still taller than Drew Brees or Russell Wilson. Picky, picky?
However, this does not put a damper on his prospects. If he replicates his 2022 form this year, he is a shoo-in for the first overall pick. Even with a minor slump, it's difficult to imagine him dropping beyond the first five picks. Such is the tantalizing prospect that is Caleb Williams.
A phenomenal talent from Gonzaga High School, Williams was a four-star recruit by ESPN ratings and an even more impressive five-star grade by 247 Sports, the latter recognizing him as the nation's number one recruit. His choice of Oklahoma for his college football journey, pairing him with the illustrious Lincoln Riley, was a decision met with tremendous anticipation and excitement.
His freshman year in 2021 started with a humble role as backup to Spencer Rattler. However, destiny had other plans. During a nail-biting encounter against Texas in week 6, Williams was thrust into the spotlight after Rattler was benched. Seizing the moment, Williams spearheaded an exhilarating come-from-behind win, a performance that led to him snatching the starting job for the rest of the season.
Despite the pressure of suddenly becoming the main man, Williams delivered, throwing for 1912 yards on 212 attempts, achieving a completion rate of 64.2%, and earning an exceptional QB rating of 118.3. His 21 TDs and additional 559 yards from 64 runs rounded off an impressive debut season.
When Lincoln Riley made the move to USC after the season, Williams followed suit. As a sophomore, he delivered a record-shattering season. Playing 13 games, he threw for a staggering 4,080 yards on 450 attempts, maintaining a completion percentage of 66.0%, and managing a slightly improved QB rating of 118.6. His 37 TDs and additional 614 yards from 90 runs provided ample proof that he was worth all the hype, and more.
Williams flaunts a superlative arm talent, reminiscent of the extraordinary skills of Patrick Mahomes. a name that will come to mind often while watching him play. His 2022 performance at USC was nothing short of stupendous, solidifying his claim to the Heisman Trophy.
His knack for conjuring up magical plays in high-stake moments is singular and awe-inspiring. Even under immense pressure, his performance remains stellar, featuring a myriad of high-quality passes.
His skill level remains unscathed despite playing for a team grappling with significant offensive line issues. His threat as a runner, coupled with his outstanding play-fakes, keeps safeties on their toes.
As an athlete, he epitomizes agility and flexibility, with a speed in scramble situations that's nothing short of a spectacle. His accuracy, particularly on short timing routes, is impeccable, setting up receivers for potential additional yardage after the catch.
A natural-born leader, he doesn't shy away from carrying the weight of the game on his shoulders. His talent for throwing on the run, especially on bootlegs, is stunning, marked by exceptional zip and accuracy.
His sub-optimal size for a quarterback position, standing at just 6-1 and weighing 215 lbs, might make him prone to injuries, especially given his daring play style.
At USC, his engagement in a relatively simplistic offense could cast doubts about his potential in a more traditional pro offense. His exclusive experience in the shotgun raises questions about his adaptability as a dropback passer.
His mechanics and footwork, though often camouflaged by his arm talent, could use some polishing. Williams has a tendency to hold the ball loosely and away from his body, exposing him to potential strip sacks.
His 2022 season was crowned with the Heisman Trophy, cementing his status as a standout in college football.
In 2022, he set new records at USC for total offense (4,919 yards), most touchdowns scored (52), passing completions (333), passes attempted (500), most passing yards (4,537), and most touchdown passes (42).
2022 Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Award - A testament to his unparalleled prowess.
2022 Sporting News College Football Player of the Year - A deserving recognition for his exceptional performance.
2021 True Freshman All-American, recognized by ESPN, 247Sports, On3, and Pro Football Focus.
2021 Semifinalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year and Davey O’Brien National Quarterback.
In 2018, he clinched the title of Gatorade District of Columbia Football Player of the Year and was selected as a MaxPreps Sophomore All-American.
HISTORY — From College Profile
CAREER: Williams holds the USC single-season record for total offense (4,919 yards), most touchdowns scored rushing and pass (52), passing completions (333), passes attempted (500), most passing yards gained (4,537), most touchdown passes thrown (42), most rushing and passing plays (613), lowest rate of interceptions (1%, 5 in 500 attempts) and highest passing efficiency rating (168.5). He is tied for the USC single-season record for most consecutive 5-touchdown pass games with 2 (tied with Sam Darnold in 2016 and Kedon Slovis in 2020). He holds the USC single-game record for most yards running and passing (503 vs. UCLA in 2022). His 382 rushing yards in 2022 were the most by a Trojan quarterback in the last 70 years when complete records were first available.
2023: Heisman Trophy winner Williams, the record-setting Unanimous First Team All-American quarterback, should again be America's top player as he returns for his second season at USC as a junior in 2023. He will attempt to be just the second player ever to win a second Heisman.
2022: After transferring from Oklahoma in the spring of 2022, Williams had a historic 2022 season as the starting quarterback at USC which culminated in him being named the 88th recipient of the Heisman Trophy. He is USC’s seventh official winner of college football’s most prestigious award. Williams joins an impressive fraternity of Trojan greats who have earned his award before him: Mike Garrett (1965), O.J. Simpson (1968), Charles White (1979), Marcus Allen (1981), Carson Palmer (2002), Matt Leinart (2004) and Reggie Bush (2005, later vacated). He was named the 2022 Walter Camp Player of the Year (joining 5 other Trojans to have been so honored, Simpson in 1967 and 1968, White in 1979, Allen in 1981, Leinart in 2004 and Bush in 2005). He was also named the 2022 AP Player of the Year (joining Leinart in 2004 and Bush in 2005). He won the 2022 Maxwell Award, presented to the best player in college football (joining Simpson in 1968, White in 1979 and Allen in 1981). He was named the 2022 Sporting News College Football Player of the Year (joining Simpson 1968, White, 1979, Allen 1981, Palmer, 2002 and Bush 2005). He was also named the 2022 CBS Sports Player of the Year, the 2022 Action Sports Player of the Year, the 2022 CFPA National Performer of the Year and the 2022 DC Touchdown Club Player of the Year. He was a Unanimous All-American being selected to the First Team for AP, Football Coaches, Football Writers, Walter Camp and Sporting News. He was selected as the 2022 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and was named to the 2022 All-Pac-12 First Team, the AP All-Pac-12 First Team and the Phil Steele All-Pac-12 First Team. Overall in 2022, he completed 333-of-500 passes (66.7%) for 4,537 yards and 42 TDs with just 5 INTs, plus he rushed for 382 yards and 10 TDs. He was first nationally in passing TDs (42, first in Pac-12) and points responsible for per game (22.3, first in Pac-12). He was third nationally in passing yards (4.537) and fourth nationally in passing yards per game (324.1). He was fifth nationally in passing efficiency (168.5, first in Pac-12) and total offense (351.4). He was seventh nationally in yards per pass attempt (9.07, first in Pac-12).
He hit 86.3% of his passes (19-of-22) for 249 yards and 2 TDs with no picks against Rice. His 86.3 completion percentage was the best by a Trojan quarterback with a minimum of 20 attempts since Matt Barkley had a 95.0 completion percentage vs. Colorado on Oct. 20, 2012. He also ran for a game-high 68 yards on 6 carries. He went 20-of-27 for 342 yards and 4 TDs with no picks against Stanford. He also ran for 4 yards on 9 carries. Williams was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, the Maxwell Award Player of the Week, the CFPA National Performer of the Week and was selected to the Davey O’Brien Great 8 List and Manning Award Stars of the Week List for his efforts in the game. He went 25-of-37 for 284 yards and 2 TDs with no interceptions against Fresno State. He also ran for a net of 1 yard on 12 carries with 2 TDs. His 2 rushing TDs were the most in a game by a Trojan QB since Sam Darnold scored twice on the ground on Sept. 29, 2017 at Washington State. He was named to the DC Touchdown Club Washington Metro College Player of the Week Honor Roll. He went 16-of-36 (.444) for 180 yards and 1 TD with no interceptions against Oregon State. He also rushed for 27 yards on 9 carries. He went 27-of 37 (.730) for 348 yards and 3 TDs with 1 INT against Arizona State. He also rushed for 44 yards on 8 carries with 1 TD. He was named to the DC Touchdown Club Washington Metro College Player of the Week Honor Roll. He went 15-of-29 (.517) for 188 yards and 2 TDs against Washington State. He also rushed for 34 yards on 9 carries. He went 25-of-42 (.595) for 381 yards and 5 TDs against Utah. He also rushed for 57 yards on 8 carries. He went 31-of-45 (.689) for career-best 411 yards and 5 TDs against Arizona. He also rushed for 14 yards on 4 carries. He was named to the Davey O’Brien Great 8 List and the DC Touchdown Club Washington Metro College Player of the Week Honor Roll. He went 26-for-41 (.634) for 360 yards and 4 TDs against California. He also rushed for 38 yards on 7 carries and 1 TD. Since the 2004 football season, no QB has thrown more TDs through their first 9 games while also throwing 1 or fewer INTs than Williams with 28 TDs and 1 INT. Through their first 9 games, Justin Fields of Ohio State had 27 TDs and 1 INT in 2019, and Tua Tagovailoa had 27 TDs and 1 INT in 2018. This marked the second time in the last four seasons that a USC QB has had 5 games with 340+ passing yards. Kedon Slovis had 5 games with 340+ yards in 2019. He went 14-of-26 (.538) for 268 yards and 3 TDs with 1 INT against Colorado. He also rushed for a net of -4 yards on 8 carries, but scored 2 TDs. Williams was the first USC QB to have 2 games with multiple rushing TDs in the same season since complete records were first available for this stat in 1972. This was the fourth consecutive game that Williams had accounted for 5 total TDs. He went 32-of-43 (.744) for 470 yards and 2 TDs with 1 INT against UCLA. He also rushed for 33 yards on 8 carries with 1 TD. Williams’ 503 total yards set a USC single game record. The previous record was held by Kedon Slovis who had 502 yards versus UCLA in 2019. Williams’ 503 total yards was also the most by any player in the series’ 92-game history. Williams had a 92.3 PFF passing grade against UCLA. He was named the DC Touchdown Club Washington Metro College Player of the Week, the Manning Award Star of the Week and the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Bruins. He went 18-of-22 (.818) for 232 yards and 1 TD with 0 INTs against Notre Dame. He also rushed for 35 yards on 9 carries with 3 TDs. He was named the Walter Camp National FBS Offensive Player of the Week, the Manning Award Star of the Week and the Rose Bowl Game Big Ten and Pac-12 Player of the Week for his performance against the Fighting Irish. He went 28-for-41 (.683) for 363 yards and 3 TDs with 1 INT in the Pac-12 Championships against Utah. He also rushed for 21 yards on 12 carries. He injured his hamstring in the beginning of the game. He went 37-of-52 (.716) for 462 yards and 5 TDs with 1 INT in the 2023 Cotton Bowl against Tulane. He also rushed for 10 yards on 4 carries. He set the Cotton Bowl record for most TD passes thrown in the game with 5 (previous record was 4 TDs held by Craig Erickson for Miami vs. Texas in 1991 and Graham Harrell for Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss in 2009). His 5 TD passes also tied the USC bowl game record for TD passes in a game. Williams tied Sam Darnold who threw for 5 TDs in the 2017 Rose Bowl. He also set the Cotton Bowl record for most passes competed with 37 (previous record was 36 held by Graham Harrell of Texas vs. Ole Miss in 2009 and Bryce Petty of Baylor vs. Michigan State in 2015).
AT OKLAHOMA: Williams, who enrolled at Oklahoma in the spring of 2021 after graduating a semester early from high school, emerged as the Sooners’ starting quarterback by mid-season and proved to be one of the nation’s premier freshmen in 2021. Overall in 2021 while appearing in 11 games (all but West Virginia and Nebraska) and starting the last 7 contests (TCU, Kansas, Texas Tech, Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Oregon), he completed 136-of-211 passes (64.5%) for 1,912 yards and 21 TDs with 4 interceptions and he ran for 442 yards on 79 carries (5.6 avg) with 6 TDs. His 1,670 passing yards and 18 passing touchdowns were the most ever by an OU true freshman. He had 200-plus passing yards 5 times, 3-plus passing TDs 4 times and 2-plus passing TDs 6 times.
He was a 2021 True Freshman All-American by ESPN, 247Sports, On3 and Pro Football Focus. He also was a 2021 semifinalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year, Davey O’Brien National Quarterback and FWAA's Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year awards. He made 2021 AP All-Big 12 second team and All-Big 12 honorable mention by the league’s coaches.
He had a 1-yard scoring run versus Tulane, his only rush or pass in his collegiate debut. He completed 5-of-10 passes for 84 yards and rushed 4 times for 60 yards (including a 59-yard run) against Western Carolina. He completed his only pass attempt (18 yards) at Kansas State. He led OU to its largest comeback victory in Red River Showdown history versus Texas when he entered late in the second quarter with the Sooners trailing, 35-17, and directed scoring drives on 7 of team's final 9 possessions while finishing with 300 yards of offense (the most ever by an OU freshman against Texas) by completing 16-of-25 passes for 212 yards with 2 TDs rushing 4 times for 88 yards with a 66-yard TD run to earn Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. In his first career start (the first Oklahoma true freshman to start at quarterback since Cale Gundy in 1990), he completed 18-of-23 passes for 295 yards with 4 TDs and rushed nine times for 66 yards with a score versus TCU (his 295 passing yards and 4 passing TDs were OU true freshman records and his 261 first-half passing yards were the most ever by an OU true freshman QB in any half) to earn Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. He completed 15-of-20 passes for 178 yards with 2 TDs and rushed 8 times for 70 yards with a score (40 yards) at Kansas. He completed 23-of-30 passes (including 22 of his final 25) for 402 yards with 6 touchdowns against Texas Tech (his 6 TD passes tied OU's freshman record and were the most ever by an OU true freshman, and he became only the third Sooner with at least 6 passing TDs and no interceptions in a game, along with Heisman Trophy winners Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray) to earn Davey O’Brien National QB of the Week and Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. He was 9-of-18 for 142 yards and 2 interceptions and rushed for 17 yards on 10 tries with a TD at Baylor. He was 8-of-18 for 87 yards with a TD and ran for 67 yards on 12 carries with an OU season long 74-yard TD versus Iowa State. He completed 20-of-39 passes for 252 yards with 3 TDs and rushed for 36 yards at Oklahoma State. He hit 21-of-27 passes for 242 yards with 3 TDs and ran for 34 yards on 7 carries against Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. Current Trojans Latrell McCutchin and Mario Williams also attended Oklahoma.
High school: He was ranked as the nation’s No. 1 player by SI All-American as a 2020 senior quarterback at Gonzaga College High in Washington, D.C. Gonzaga College did not play a fall 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic ... Two-time (2018-19) All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference selection, winning MVP honors in 2019 ... Threw for 1,770 yards and 19 touchdowns as a 2019 junior while rushing for 838 yards and 18 scores ... Named Gatorade District of Columbia Football Player of the Year and a MaxPreps Sophomore All-American in 2018 when he passed for 2,624 yards and 26 touchdowns.
He is majoring in Communication at USC with a 3.29 GPA. He was selected to the 2022 Allstate AFCA Goodworks Team. Williams created the Caleb Cares Foundation which dedicates energy and resources to causes like anti-bullying, mental health awareness and youth development. Williams’s nickname is “Superman” and the mission of the Caleb Cares Foundation is “to inspire more superheroes to fight bullying so we can all realize that what makes us different is our superpower.”
Pro Day Results: