Former Oklahoma star QB Caleb Williams transferring to USC

© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Lincoln Riley got his guy again. 

Star quarterback Caleb Williams is following Riley to USC from the University of Oklahoma, Williams confirmed via Twitter. ESPN's Pete Thamel was first to report the news. 

"I wanted to go somewhere I thought would provide me with the best development both on and off the field," Williams told Thamel. "Getting to know Coach Riley and gaining familiarity with his offense definitely played a part in my selection, as well as already knowing some the guys on the team."

Williams is the headliner of 13 transfers that have landed at the University of Southern California since Riley took over. Shortly after Williams' decision became public, the head coach tweeted a simple emoji showing his excitement.

Williams, who will be a true sophomore this upcoming fall, was one of Riley's highest-ranked recruits ever at Oklahoma. After beginning his true freshman season as the Sooners No. 2 QB, the former five-star recruit out of Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. replaced preseason Heisman Trophy favorite Spencer Rattler under center midway through the 2021 season and never looked back.

In 11 games (seven starts) for Oklahoma in 2021, Williams threw for 1,912 yards, 21 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He also rushed for an additional 442 yards and six touchdowns on just 79 carries. The signature moment of Williams' freshman season came in the Red River rivalry against Texas, where he came off the bench and led the Sooners to a 21-point comeback victory.


Williams' future in Norman became an immediate topic of conversation following Riley's abrupt departure to USC just one day after Oklahoma's loss to rival Oklahoma State. However, Williams finished the season with the Sooners and led them to a 47-32 victory over Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.

Days later, though, Williams announced his intention to enter the NCAA's transfer portal, which legally allowed him to speak with other programs about his future. Although Oklahoma remained an option, Williams ultimately made the decision to follow Riley to USC, with the ultimate goal of becoming an NFL quarterback.

Arguably no coach has been better at developing quarterbacks for the next level than Riley. Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, both Heisman Trophy winners, were the No. 1 overall pick in back-to-back NFL Drafts. Riley also coached Jalen Hurts for one season, who was a second-round pick in 2020 and currently the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback.

"Honestly, this was a huge decision and we wanted to weigh all of our options and see what school would best prepare me for the next level," Williams said to ESPN.