Caleb Williams has been named the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner. After a stellar first season with the USC Trojans, Williams is now on top of the college football world. Things are just getting started for Williams and Co., as 2024 could be the true revival of the program.
The USC Trojans fell just short of a College Football Playoff berth in Lincoln Riley’s first season on campus. The program completed a drastic turnaround in Southern California, going from an abysmal 4-8 season to a Pac-12 Championship appearance in 2022, and re-establishing the brand on a national scale.
Riley coming in and establishing his culture by recruiting players via the transfer portal cannot be praised enough, but the biggest reason USC flipped the script so quickly is their generational talent at quarterback. I understand, generational is said far too often, but Caleb Williams fits the description.
The former five-star recruit signed on to be Oklahoma’s next great quarterback before the 2021 season. Midway through the campaign, Williams supplanted Spencer Rattler as the starter. The switch came during the Red River Rivalry after Rattler and OU sputtered to a 28-7 deficit following the opening quarter.
Caleb Williams, a true freshman at the time, entered the contest and instantly contributed with a spectacular 66-yard scurry to the end zone. Williams also threw the first two touchdowns of his young career, both to the speedster Marvin Mims.
Williams went on to win four of his five starts in the regular season, with the lone loss coming against the Baylor Bears. The Sooners would later lose a tightly-contested battle with in-state rivals Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship.
In seven total starts, Caleb Williams accounted for 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He completed passes at a respectable 65.1% clip and showcased the talent that made him one of the most highly-touted recruits in years.
As we all know, Lincoln Riley received an offer to become the head coach for USC and took little time to accept it. Immediately upon hearing of this move, nearly every college football fan assumed Caleb Williams would follow him to the Trojans. And that is exactly what happened.
In 2022, Williams looks even better. He is a more polished passer and is as creative at maneuvering the pocket as I have ever evaluated. The ability to keep his eyes downfield while also sensing and evading pressure is a sight to behold.
Williams was not the only star offensive player to trade in their old jersey for the red and yellow. Last year’s Biletnikoff Award winner, Jordan Addison, entered the transfer portal and had many prestigious programs knocking at his door. Ultimately, Addison followed Williams and Riley to Pasadena, and the trio has USC at heights that have not been reached since the mid-2000s.
Armed with a familiar system, and an impressive arsenal of weapons, Caleb Williams’ numbers were absurd in 2022. The gifted signal-caller exceeded the 4,000-yard mark through the air, including a sparking 37 touchdowns to only four interceptions.
Because sacks count against a quarterbacks rushing total, his 3.4 yards per carry look pedestrian, but Williams is dominant when he tucks the ball and runs. The sophomore quarterback accounted for 10 rushing touchdowns on the season and several important first-down runs.
The other candidates for the Heisman Trophy deserve their fair share of credit. Stetson Bennett is guiding the ship for a Georgia program on the cusp of winning back-to-back National Championships — and he is playing very well in the process.
Similarly, Max Duggan is the heart and soul of the TCU Horned Frogs. Duggan plays inspired football and never gives less than 100%. CJ Stroud is a potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and he played at a high level his entire junior season.
As great as these three have been, none of them are as vital to the success of their team as Caleb Williams is to the USC Trojans. The Heisman committee agreed with this sentiment and awarded the trophy to Williams, who became the first Trojan QB to win since Matt Leinart in 2004.
He is ineligible for the 2023 NFL Draft, but place your bets for the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft now. Barring injury, it will be Caleb Williams. The superstar behind center has a great chance to repeat and join Archie Griffin as the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner. The program has a chance to do something special in 2024, too.
With his ability to take over a football game with supreme arm talent and creativeness outside the pocket, Caleb Willams has the potential to be a franchise player in the NFL. The Sweepstakes will begin the moment the 2023 NFL Draft concludes. Tank for Caleb campaigns will be aplenty!