Monday afternoon, Caleb Williams, the Nation’s No. 1 QB and No. 6 overall player according to 247Sports Composite, sent out a tweet and posted a blog regarding the schools included in his final five:
Final 5.— Caleb Williams (@CALEBcsw) March 23, 2020
Clemson University #ALLIN
Louisiana State University#GeauxTigers
University of Maryland#Terps
Penn State university#WeAre
University of Oklahoma #BoomerSooner pic.twitter.com/E5U3pMPrGn
Now, what Caleb’s tweets and blog have to do with what Lincoln Riley sent out Sunday afternoon remains to be seen:
Boomer-— Lincoln Riley (@LincolnRiley) March 23, 2020
The current list for the talented quarterback includes the Maryland Terrapins, Clemson Tigers, Penn State Nittany Lions, LSU Tigers and Oklahoma Sooners. Where does OU stand in this final five?
The main draw of Williams to the Terrapins is that he attends Gonzaga College HS in Washington D.C., which happens to be roughly twenty minutes from campus in College Park, MD. To me, it’s throwing a bone to a local program and not much more than that. For what it’s worth, Mike Locksley used to be a part of Nick Saban’s staff (was also Jalen Hurts’ OC and QB coach) and is a very well-liked person in the profession among recruits.
James Franklin is growing the Penn State program into something exciting and is obviously a key factor in securing the possible commitment of Caleb Williams. Geographically, it makes some sense for the the quarterback, but also an elite quarterback is something the Nittany Lions have been missing for some time. Should Franklin secure the signature of Williams, it would give them a legitimate chance to compete in the loaded Big Ten East with teams like Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State. I would say that Penn State is currently the fourth team in line for Williams’ services — certainly in consideration, but not the same level of threat in relation to the next three schools.
Coming off of a national title season, it’s hard to imagine LSU not getting a look from the No. 1 QB prospect in the USA. Coach O and the Bayou Bengals will get strong consideration from Williams, but I don’t think it’s as serious as the remaining two schools vying for Williams’ services. LSU has incredible tradition, the most raucous fans and stadium atmosphere in college football in addition to being a member of a high-profile conference. However, LSU no longer has Joe Brady, who joined the Carolina Panthers staff as an OC after turning the Tigers’ lame offense into something explosive for Joe Burrow & Co. At the same time, the Tigers do not have a quarterback the caliber of Williams, and he could theoretically start immediately in 2021.
Clemson is a very attractive program when you consider the success that Dabo Swinney has had ever since he’s taken over. The Tigers have made it to the College Football Playoff every single year since 2015, making the National Title game every one of those years except 2017 and winning two titles in the last five years. Clemson has notably had successful and explosive offenses with Deshaun Watson and current QB Trevor Lawrence at the helm, yet no Heisman Trophies are included in Clemson’s recent run. Williams is good enough to change that if he chooses to take his talents to Western SC.
With the ACC being so weak, CU will be a constant force in the College Football Playoff. They also sit on fertile recruiting grounds. With Clemson just getting D.J. Uiagalelei, the No. 1 QB recruit from the 2020 class according to 247Composite, there’s a chance that Williams would have to wait longer than he’d like. However, that doesn’t mean Clemson is not a close second to the Sooners in relation to his recruitment.
Lincoln Riley and his offense are proven commodities with whatever quarterback is in the system. Since Riley has arrived to campus in Norman, he has had three starting quarterbacks with three differing skill sets— and he has had three quarterbacks go to the Heisman Trophy Ceremony, with two winning the high honor of best college football player in the United States. Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray also went No. 1 in their respective NFL drafts, back to back, while Jalen Hurts is sure to go higher than would’ve been expected a year ago. Since Riley’s arrival, Oklahoma has been to the College Football Playoff four times, and three of those four have come since he became head coach in 2017. That being said, it’s easy to see why Oklahoma would be the leader for Williams here. A quarterback whisperer that has explosive offenses geared toward winning awards, earning high draft selections and being in a position to vie for a National Tile as the Sooners’ defense improves. With regard to depth at QB, the Sooners have redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler, who could exit to the NFL after the 2021 season if he performs at a high enough level, leaving the door wide open for Williams to come in, redshirt, and take the reigns as either a redshirt freshman or true sophomore. I would say that constantly in his recruitment, many things circle back to Lincoln Riley. Of course, that’s obviously great news for the Sooners, and most people (myself included) would tab them as the favorites to win the commitment and eventual signature of Caleb Williams.