USC quarterback Caleb Williams has officially declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, forgoing his final two seasons of college eligibility. Williams is projected by many to be the first overall pick after his record-breaking 2022 season, where he won the Heisman Trophy.
Williams Leaves Lasting Legacy at USC
Williams transfers to USC last year from Oklahoma helped catalyze an impressive turnaround, leading the Trojans to an 11-3 record and major bowl win after the program struggled the last several seasons.
The dynamic quarterback accounted for 47 touchdowns in 2022 – 4th most in a single season in Pac-12 conference history. His 316 yards passing per game led the nation and he showed off his athleticism rushing for 10 more scores.
Williams thanked USC, his coaches, and teammates in his announcement on Twitter:
“The last two seasons at OU and USC have shaped me into the player and person I am today. The bonds I’ve made with my teammates, coaches and fans from both schools will last a lifetime.”
Lead Candidate for First Overall Selection
The Chicago Bears hold the 1st pick in April’s draft and a quarterback-needy team like the Bears will likely strongly consider the talented Williams.
Most mock drafts have predicted Williams headed to Chicago. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah explained why Williams makes perfect sense as the draft’s top choice:
“Williams is the complete package. He has an extremely live arm to make every throw. He has rare athleticism and competitive toughness. Chicago has struggled at QB – Williams would energize that offense and accelerate their rebuild.”
According to BetOnline odds, Williams is now the overwhelming favorite (-300) to come off the board first in April.
Background and Path to USC
Caleb Williams was a 5-star recruit and the nation’s consensus No. 1 quarterback in the 2021 recruiting class. After an impressive freshman campaign as Spencer Rattler’s backup, Williams took over the starting job midway through last season.
He showed his potential by rallying Oklahoma from double-digit deficits in multiple comeback wins. Williams finished with 21 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions, hinting at what was to come in 2022.
When Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma to take USC’s head coaching job, Caleb Williams opted to enter the transfer portal and reunite with his former coach out west.
|Caleb Williams College Stats
His one season starring for the Trojans saw Williams break the single-season Pac-12 record with 47 total touchdowns. He racked up stats and wins, leading USC to their first 11-win season since 2008.
Culminating with winning the 2022 Heisman Trophy, Williams put together one of the all-time great seasons in college football history.
What Happens Next?
All signs point to the Bears using the first overall pick on Caleb Williams. Chicago has struggled at QB and have a major need there.
Current starter Justin Fields has flashed potential but been inconsistent through two seasons. The new Bears’ regime could prefer to hand-pick their own franchise QB.
If Chicago goes a different direction, quarterback-needy teams like Houston, Indianapolis, and Washington could trade up to try landing Williams.
Once drafted, Williams will sign a lucrative rookie contract. As the potential first overall pick, he’s expected to sign a 4-year deal worth around $35 million, all fully guaranteed at signing.
Wherever he lands, expectations will be sky-high for the talented quarterback. But Williams has already shown impressive poise and production at the college level. His special skill set gives him as high a ceiling as any QB to enter the draft in recent memory.
Scouting Report Strengths & Weaknesses
Here’s how various draft experts and analysts view Caleb Williams’ strengths and development areas as he heads to the NFL:
- Elite arm talent and ability to make any throw
- Lightning quick release and velocity
- Excellent athlete that extends plays with legs
- Prototypical size at 6’1″ 215 lbs
- Playmaking instincts and creativity
Areas for Improvement
- Occasional questionable decisions/turnovers
- Could improve anticipation on throws
- Played in QB-friendly offensive system
- Relied heavily on athleticism in college
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. summed up Williams’ tremendous upside:
“Caleb Williams is the most talented QB I’ve evaluated since Andrew Luck in 2012. He has off-the-charts abilities as both a passer and runner. Whichever team drafts Williams will be getting a special talent with the upside to develop into an elite NFL quarterback.”
While the 20-year old still has development ahead, his otherworldly physical talents and football IQ have scouts confident Williams can quickly adjust to the pro game.
Final College Season One for the Ages
Caleb Williams leaves USC with a legacy as one of college football’s all-time greats. His lone season starring in Southern California saw Williams capture the Heisman trophy and break several long-standing Pac-12 records.
Williams helped restore USC as an elite program, leading them to an early CFP #1 ranking. He consistently produced highlight-reel plays and led thrilling comebacks late into games all season long.
Williams concludes his college career with eye-popping stats, honors, and memories for Trojans fans. The talented quarterback also heads to the NFL draft with boatloads of hype and expectations.
But Caleb Williams has already shown he can handle the pressure and spotlight. Now he’ll get the chance to take those special abilities to the next level playing on Sundays.
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