In what is likely to be the longest week in Oklahoma football’s history, Caleb Williams is now taking calls from schools all over the country and trying to find his best option for 2022 and beyond. The former five-star prospect and top-rated freshman quarterback in 2021 is officially a free agent, but this isn’t a bidding war.
According to Caleb and his father, Carl Williams, the driving force for where Caleb Williams will end up is his development for the NFL. Sure, NIL opportunities will play a small role as well, but the money he will make in NIL compared to what he will make in the NFL is pennies on the dollar. Caleb Williams is looking for a coach that will help him be ready on day one in the NFL. Who out there can offer that to him right now? Well, apparently Chip Kelly and his staff can.
Per Brandon Huffman of 247Sports, UCLA has been named a “school to watch” for Caleb Williams’ services. The Bruins reached out to Caleb and his family immediately after he entered into the NCAA Transfer Portal, and there is reportedly mutual interest at this time. Kelly and his quarterbacks’ coach Ryan Gunderson (hired in 2021) apparently have what the Williams family is looking for, although I’m not sure that I would dive headfirst into UCLA over Oklahoma at this point. That being said, nobody expected Lincoln Riley to leave for Los Angeles either, so what do I know?
Regardless UCLA is now on the list of potential landing spots for the young superstar, but where else could he land? Well, Georgia seemed like an early favorite but things have cooled off on that front and seems unlikely at this point.
Miami was another school that gained some early traction, but after Miami hired Bryan McClendon from Oregon as their new Co-OC that seems unlikely as well. Why? Joe Brady, former LSU passing game coordinator and developer of Joe Burrow, was supposedly in the mix for the Miami offensive coordinator position. The Williams family is extremely impressed with Brady and would likely have taken a hard look at “The U” if he was to become a member of the staff there.
USC is still in play, strictly because of Lincoln Riley’s pedigree of preparing quarterbacks for the NFL. He already burned the Williams family once by leaving Caleb and Oklahoma on a moment’s notice and it seems a longshot that they would give him another chance.
Auburn is a school that you should watch closely in this process and could be a player when things are said and done. Caleb Williams reportedly has developed a relationship with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. So what’s the connection? Wilson’s former quarterback coach, Austin Davis is now the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Auburn. Is that a stretch? Maybe. But at this point, it seems like a viable option, especially if Caleb’s primary concern is NFL development.
At the end of the day, could Williams end up back at Oklahoma in 2022? Sure, and I personally believe that is his best option at this point in time. However, he will have to make that decision on his own, and time is passing quickly. The last thing the Williams family wants to do is make a brash decision, but it seems like their hand could be forced with classes starting around the country over the next week or two. This is going to be an interesting story to watch, and one that the entire country will follow in the coming days.