Former Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams is transferring to USC

BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

LOS ANGELES — Quarterback Caleb Williams is transferring to Southern California, following head coach Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma to the Trojans.

Williams posted his long-awaited announcement on social media Tuesday with a video that included the former five-star recruit in a USC uniform and famous Trojans fan Snoop Dogg rapping.

The 20-year-old Williams started seven games as a freshman last season for Oklahoma, passing for 1,912 yards and 21 touchdowns. After taking the Sooners’ starting job from Spencer Rattler, Williams confirmed his status as one of the most promising quarterbacks in college football under the tutelage of Riley, who has also mentored Heisman Trophy winners Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.

Williams entered the transfer portal on Jan. 3, five weeks after Riley’s stunning move from Norman to Los Angeles. Williams was immediately linked to USC, but he kept fans waiting until February – although Riley and the Trojans tipped their hand when they weren’t linked to any other quarterbacks in the transfer portal despite the departures of last season’s top two USC passers.

Williams is the biggest name yet to join Riley with the Trojans, who have added elite talent from across college football in the transfer portal to participate in Riley’s rebuilding project at the West Coast’s marquee program. USC went 4-8 last season under Clay Helton and interim coach Donte Williams in its worst season in three decades.

Gifted Oklahoma receiver Mario Williams transferred to USC last month, along with experienced Pac-12 wideouts Brenden Rice (Colorado) and Terrell Bynum (Washington). Prolific Oregon running back Travis Dye also transferred home to his native Southern California last month, joined by veteran Stanford running back Austin Jones.

Cornerback Latrell McCutchin also made the move from Oklahoma to USC along with cornerback Mekhi Blackmon (Colorado), offensive lineman Bobby Haskins (Virginia) and defensive linemen Tyrone Taleni (Kansas State) and Earl Barquet (TCU). USC also added edge rusher Romello Heights (Auburn) and linebacker Shane Lee (Alabama).

Williams is all but certain to be the immediate starter for the Trojans. USC’s top two quarterbacks last season were Kedon Slovis and Jaxson Dart, but both left the school after Riley’s arrival.

Slovis, the Pac-12’s offensive player of the year in 2020, transferred to Pitt. Dart is joining former Trojans coach Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss along with former USC tight end Michael Trigg.

Caleb Williams, who is from Washington, D.C., made a visit to Los Angeles in early January along with Mario Williams, his close friend. The duo took in a Rams game and a Lakers game during their weekend in LA, fueling speculation they had already made their transfer decision.

Oklahoma quickly filled the vacancy left when Caleb Williams decided to transfer by landing transfer quarterback Dillon Gabriel from UCF.

Along with his prolific additions in the transfer portal, Riley quickly made progress in shoring up USC’s recruiting, particularly in the talent-rich Los Angeles metroplex. The Trojans quickly received commitments from five-star running back Raleek Brown, five-star cornerback Domani Jackson and cornerback Fabian Ross, among other top talents.

Air Force football sanctioned for recruiting violations

air force
Peter Joneleit/Getty Images
0 Comments

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The Air Force football program received two years of probation from the NCAA and had its squad size reduced by 10 for four years as part of its sanctions for recruiting violations.

The penalties were announced Thursday after Air Force and four individuals reached an agreement with NCAA enforcement staff on recruiting violations. A fifth individual in the case has contested their role and will be heard by the committee on infractions.

The sanctions also include a fine and a reduction of 46 total official visits for the football program in the 2022-23 and `23-24 academic years. In addition, there’s a prohibition on unofficial visits in football from Sept. 1 through Oct. 12, 2022, and a reduced number of evaluation days this fall.

Air Force has around 115 players on its varsity roster, plus a JV team that all count as NCAA athletes and its roster size.

“The (committee) appreciates the parties’ efforts in working collaboratively together to reach agreement on the violations, levels, classifications, and significant and meaningful penalties,” Gary Miller, the chief hearing officer for the panel and president at Akron, said in a statement. “The panel also recognizes that Air Force has gone above and beyond in its overall approach to this case.”

In a joint statement, Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark and director of athletics Nathan Pine said: “The U.S. Air Force Academy is pleased that our case has progressed to the point of the NCAA accepting our negotiated resolution. We will continue working with the NCAA on this ongoing self-reported case from the COVID dead period, as it’s our responsibility to ensure integrity of the institution, athletics department, cadet-athletes and staff.”

The Falcons are off to a 3-1 start and host Navy on Saturday to begin the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy competition. The trophy is presented to the service academy with the best record in the round-robin format.

Florida shakes up secondary after dismal game at Tennessee

florida gators
Donald Page/Getty Images
0 Comments

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Billy Napier is shaking up his secondary after the Gators allowed 349 yards passing – including 247 of those on eight plays – in a loss at Tennessee.

Safety Trey Dean, a fifth-year senior who has started 32 games and played in 54, is out with what Florida is calling a “lower leg injury.” But no one would be surprised if Napier was quietly benching Dean after he made two mental errors against the Volunteers that resulted in 70- and 45-yard gains and set up touchdowns.

Freshman Kamari Wilson will replace Dean and make his first college start Sunday against Eastern Washington.

Cornerback Jaydon Hill will join Wilson in the starting lineup. Hill, a third-year sophomore, will make his first start since 2020. He missed the 2021 season with a torn knee ligament. He impressed Napier and his new staff in the spring but sat out preseason camp with another knee injury.

Hill will replace sophomore Avery Helm, who also struggled against the Vols.

“You talk about what he’s been through from an injury perspective,” Napier said following practice Wednesday. “Jaydon was one of the better players that we had on our team in spring practice. I was very impressed . It’s no surprise to me. He showed pretty quickly here that he’s very capable. I’m excited to watch him play.”

Georgia transfer Jalen Kimber, a former five-star recruit, is now listed as a third-team cornerback. Kimber played just 11 snaps in Knoxville a week after he returned an interception for a touchdown in a 31-28 win against South Florida.

“I like to say we try to eliminate the bad football,” Napier said. “Talking about mental errors, misalignments, poor communication, bad fundamentals and techniques, bad decision-making within the play. … We have a laundry list of things that we need to eliminate each week.

“Last week’s game, I thought we were really close, but there’s 12 or 15 plays in the game where Florida is beating Florida. We’ve got a smart group here. I think they’re very aware of what the issues are, and I think they’re working hard to address those issues.”