Former Oklahoma Sooners QB Caleb Williams transferred to USC

Star quarterback Caleb Williams is moving to USC, he told ESPN.

The move unites Williams with first-year USC head coach Lincoln Riley, for whom Williams played in his breakthrough true first year in Oklahoma in 2021.

“I wanted to go somewhere where I thought it would give me the best development both on and off the field,” Williams told ESPN. He added: “Getting to know Coach Riley and getting to know him for his crime has definitely played a role in my selection, as well as knowing some of the guys on the team.”

Williams’ decision marks the end of the biggest mystery out of the season in college football, as Williams spent nearly a month in the NCAA transfer portal. Williams chose the Trojans over UCLA, Georgia, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

Williams signed all of his paperwork to attend USC late last week, a source told ESPN. He registered late Friday for lessons with his academic advisor, ahead of the school’s final deadline to do so. He is expected to attend his first class at USC in person on Tuesday and will be released in the coming days to participate in team workouts.

“I want to get to work right away, earn the trust of my teammates, win championships and help bring USC back to a top-rated program,” Williams said.

The move marks the end of one of the most famous and potentially transformative transfers in modern college football, and a decision that could make a big difference across both the Pac-12 and the landscape of the sport.

It’s a gigantic coup for Riley, who has now added 13 transfers from the portal since his arrival at USC in November. No one is as important as Williams, who will provide a building block, star power and help USC provide a direct identity on the field.

Williams’ transfer comes at a time in sports where both the new NCAA one-time transfer rule and the ability for players to earn money from their name, image and likeness have been crossed for the first time. But Williams said NIL “did not influence my decision.”

A true sophomore who is 6-foot-1 and 218 pounds, Williams will enter the 2022 season among the sport’s Heisman Trophy favorites. He is among the bold names of college football at quarterback, alongside Alabama junior Bryce Young and Ohio State redshirt sophomore CJ Stroud.

Caleb Williams and his father, Carl, have long planned Caleb’s career decisions to aim for the no. 1 overall choice in the NFL draft. Williams will be eligible in 2024 after two seasons at USC.

“Honestly, this was an enormous decision and we wanted to weigh all our options and see which school would best prepare me for the next level,” said Caleb Williams.

That first lawsuit led Caleb Williams to select Oklahoma from high school. Riley helped two no. 1 overall NFL picks – Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray – and another promising NFL starter, Jalen Hurts, at Oklahoma school since 2017. Riley left OU for USC in late November, the rare move of a coach leaving one high-profile school for another.

Now the Riley star has followed suit, and that gives USC a quarterback with the potential to live up to the golden line of USC on the position.

“USC obviously has a great football history when it comes to national championships and Heisman winners,” Williams said. “But apart from football, the school itself and the city give me a chance to really look for and explore other interests that I have outside the field.”

Williams earned ESPN freshman All-American status in Oklahoma in 2021 after wrestling the starting quarterback job away from sitting Spencer Rattler. Williams took over for Rattler in the second quarter of a comeback victory against Texas in October and won the starting lineup for good after leading the Sooners to a 55-48 victory.

Williams started the last seven games for Oklahoma (11-2), finishing the season with 1,912 pass yards, 442 rushing yards and good for 27 touchdowns – 21 passing and six rushing – and throwing just four interceptions.

Now Williams will move from the Big 12 to the Pac-12, as he will be the favorite to start immediately at USC over a pair of inexperienced quarterbacks – second-year quarterback Miller Moss and Vanderbilt transfer Mo Hasan.

USC went 4-8 in 2021 and fired coach Clay Helton in September after just two games. USC’s top two quarterbacks moved on to the season, with Kedon Slovis moving to Pittsburgh and Jaxson Dart deciding to join Ole Miss.

Williams said he grew up visiting California with his family, calling it “always a dream to come and play for one of the California schools.”

That dream is now a reality, delivering an adrenaline rush to USC and wrinkles in the sport.


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