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.