High School

Q&A with Gonzaga 5-star QB Caleb Williams about why he picked the schools in his final 5

Q&A with Gonzaga 5-star QB Caleb Williams about why he picked the schools in his final 5

Caleb Williams, the 5-star quarterback out of Gonzaga College High School, dropped his final five of college options last Monday: Maryland, Penn State, Clemson, LSU and Oklahoma.

According to Caleb’s father, Carl Williams, they plan to make a final decision about which program he'll attend before the new school year starts. They want Caleb to be able to enjoy his senior season and focus on recruiting other student athletes to come with him wherever he chooses to go.

I had a conversation with Caleb to find out what stood out to him about each of these programs and why they made the cut.

When I think of Penn State, I think, “We Are.” Happy Valley has an amazing football community steeped in tradition. Why are you potentially interested in playing for Coach [James] Franklin?

Other than the 110K fans they have each week -- I’ve known Coach Franklin since freshman year, and I’ve known a few of the other coaches on staff since before then, so it’s all about relationship building.

Beyond that, their fans are great. I went to the Blue/White game, and they were just as loud as if it were a real game and they were playing Michigan or Ohio State.

In considering the [Clemson] Tigers, not only do they offer the “ALL IN” championship culture, but also the potential of playing for a coach like Dabo Swinney, who dances and goes out of his way to connect with student athletes. What attracts you to Clemson?

Like you said, Coach Dabo… he’s a mature kid. He’s awesome [laughs]. He’s awesome and he’s really genuine. He’s a Christian man, and you can’t really beat that.

He doesn’t consider what he’s doing “work.” He loves going in and doing what he’s supposed to do in life. 

LSU is the defending National Champion -- so they have that in their favor -- and Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow starred at quarterback with the Tigers. Last season’s offensive coordinator Joe Brady has left for the NFL, though. Why are you still considering LSU?

Coach O [Ed Orgeron]. He kind of makes you want to run through a brick wall at times. On game day, when you have that juice running through you, there’s not much anybody else can do to you. When you have love for the game [individually] and are willing to run through a brick wall, you should be unstoppable. 

And their fans… if you haven’t been to an LSU game, you need to go. They say some things I can’t say on social media, but it’s an awesome experience. You’ll laugh and have a great time.

What coach [Lincoln] Riley has been able to do with quarterbacks at Oklahoma is unheard of. Every year they have a Heisman candidate at QB putting up huge numbers. How do you see yourself fitting into that Boomer Sooner system?

If you look at the last four years or so, I believe I can do just about anything Kyler [Murray], Baker [Mayfield] or [Jalen] Hurts have done either physically or mentally. And if you look at the history of Oklahoma football -- they’ve produced hall of famers both at the NFL and college level. Also, with Coach Riley being who he is; an awesome family man and awesome coach, you can’t really beat that.

The University of Maryland makes your top five, and the DMV community is going nuts over that. Coach [Mike] Locksley is building something special. [Wide receiver] Rakim Jarret is attempting to lead the next “Stay Home Movement.” If you choose the Terps, it’ll blow the roof off this thing.

I’ve known coach Locksley and coach Scottie Montgomery for years now. I’ve known coach Scottie since he was at Duke with coach [David] Cutcliffe, Peyton Manning’s coach, and I’ve known coach Locksley since he was at Alabama when they were recruiting me.

Over time, they’ve continued to recruit me and now that coach Locksley is back home, Maryland is on the list.

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Former Dunbar and Maryland star Keith Booth sues Baltimore City Schools, per a report

Former Dunbar and Maryland star Keith Booth sues Baltimore City Schools, per a report

University of Maryland great, and former Dunbar basketball coach, Keith Booth has sued the Baltimore school system for defamation the Baltimore Sun reported Friday afternoon. The coach was fired in February for an "inappropriate interaction" between two Dunbar students who were under his supervision at the time.

Booth is suing the city school board, schools CEO Sonja Santelises, Dunbar principal Yetunde Reeves, and Jerome Jones, the director of labor relations and negotiations for the school system.

According to the lawsuit, Booth's attorney alleges that the letter released to the Dunbar community, regarding the incident at the time, implied Booth was at fault. 

“Coach Booth will forever live with the stain of Defendants’ false and defamatory letter and denial of his constitutional rights to clear his name," the lawsuit states.

Booth, a McDonald's All-American during his time at Dunbar, returned to coach the boy's basketball program in May of 2019.

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Quince Orchard senior quarterback Brian Plummer ready for starring role

Quince Orchard senior quarterback Brian Plummer ready for starring role

Brian Plummer has spent the last three years playing “best supporting actor” in the full-length feature film that is Quince Orchard football. In the 2020 season though, the senior quarterback anticipates being cast in the leading role. 

QO has developed into a primetime program. With their rabid fan base, deep playoff runs, and roster chalked full of star-studded recruits, the Cougars draw so many amateur videographers at home games, one could mistake the Cougar Dome for a movie set.

 In two years as the Cougars starting quarterback, Brian Plummer has a record of 25-2 while throwing for nearly 3,000 yards to go with his 30+ touchdowns. He’s led QO to a state championship, earned an offer from the University of Maryland, amongst others and at 6-3, 220 lbs seems typecast for the part of “QB1”. Yet despite his accomplishments, Plummer, to this point, has flown under the radar. 

To this point, Plummer has played beside major stars, and though he says he never minded, the spotlight was not always big enough to shine on all contributors. In 2019, his primary responsibility was handing the ball off to Kent State-commit Marquez Cooper. Cooper re-wrote the Cougars record book for a running back, and in doing so, garnered so much attention that the media often categorized QO performances as more of a one-man show than team ensemble.  

After playing JV his freshmen year, In 2018, Plummer was saddled with the unenviable task of replacing Quince Orchard Legend, Doc Bonner—a player who wrote the script on what it means to be the Cougars’ quarterback. There was doubt as to whether the sophomore could live up to the billing.

“Doc accomplished a lot in his time at Quince Orchard,” QO head coach John Kelley said. "He was a 3-year starter and an All-Met performer who helped us win a lot of games. When you lose a guy like that who accounts for a lot of your offense, you’re going to have concerns about what’s going to come next.”

Bonner led QO to two Maryland 4A state championship games, falling to Wise in both. Though he didn’t win a title, he helped lay the foundation that would catapult the Cougars into the category of perennial contenders. According to Plummer, Bonner helped build the program both on and off the field. More than a teammate, he served as an example.

“I learned a lot from Doc. When I was a freshman, he was my role model. He’d always tell me the right things to do and how to approach the game,” Plummer said. “It was crazy trying to replace Doc. He was a superstar and my sophomore year, I’d hear everyone saying, 'QO is gonna suck this year'. My own teammates were posting on Snapchat, 'we need a quarterback.' It was crazy."

Despite the initial lack of confidence, the Cougars didn’t miss a beat with Plummer at the helm, finishing the regular season with a record of 9-1. 

“We knew he had a very good offensive line, along with a good run game that could take some pressure off of him," Kelley said. "You could see in each practice—in each game, he was getting better week-by-week.”

Riding their potent rushing attack, QO steam-rolled through the playoffs, including a convincing 31-6 victory over arch-nemesis Wise in the semi’s en route to capturing the 2018 Maryland 4A crown. In victory, Plummer could only think of the student-athlete he replaced. The young man whose shadow he was beginning to step from behind.

“I felt real good winning states, but I was pretty mad Doc wasn’t able to win a ring himself,” Plummer said. “I wish Doc could’ve been on the team because I saw him give it all he had for 3 years and fall short. I just wish we could’ve gotten one for him.”

In 2019, the Cougars fell short in their bid to repeat, losing to rival Northwest in the state semifinals. According to Plummer, egos and in-fighting led to the seemingly dominant team's downfall.  In 2020, Plummer and company will attempt to drive QO back to the championship game and in order to do so, he will need to take the lead.

“Talking with my coaches, we’re going to need a lot from me in order for us to be successful this year,” Plummer said. “I'm [definitley] working as hard as I ever have. I’m doing everything the right way. Doing everything better, because I know the team is going to need me to be at my best.”

Plummer has worked a lot on his physique during the offseason; his added mass makes him a legitimate threat as a runner as well as passer. The Cougars offense could look very different from years past.

 “We are supremely confident in his ability to be the bell cow for our offense in 2020,” Kelley said. “With his ability to throw and run the ball, I think it will make us tough to defend."

The stage is set. For the first time, this is unquestionably Brian Plummer’s offense and the senior QB is finally ready to step into the light.

“I feel like I have a lot to prove,” Plummer said,  “I haven’t shown everything I am— I haven’t done all I can do, so I’m working as hard as I can so I can show my real skill this season and lead us to another championship.”

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