NCAA

Gonzaga QB Caleb Williams commits to Oklahoma over Maryland

Gonzaga QB Caleb Williams commits to Oklahoma over Maryland

Consensus five-star quarterback and Gonzaga College High School rising senior Caleb Williams has verbally commited to play college football at the University of Oklahoma. 

The nation's top quarterback of the 2021 class, according to 247 Sports, announced his decision on CBS Sports HQ on Saturday night at 9 p.m. just as fireworks went off across the country.

Williams chose Oklahoma over his hometown Maryland Terrapins and the LSU Tigers. 

"Yes. With their past, with their past two quarterbacks [at Oklahoma], I honestly felt like it was for me," Williams told CBS Sports HQ. "I honestly felt like it was the best place for me overall with what Coach [Lincoln] Riley has been able to do. I just want to learn and hopefully get to the next level."

Paul Troth, a former quarterback at East Carolina and Liberty, has worked with quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the Redskins’ presumptive starter, and Philadelphia's Carson Wentz and Houston's Deshaun Watson as part of the prestigious Elite 11 camp’s Mid-Atlantic coaching staff.

Williams, at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, has traits in common with all of them.   

“[Williams’] mechanics are the best I’ve seen in a long time – maybe going back to Dwayne Haskins coming out of high school,” Troth said. 

The Sooners, of course, boast an outstanding pedigree at the position. Two of the past three Heisman Trophy winners hail from Oklahoma (Baker Mayfield in 2017 and Kyler Murray in 2018). Last year, OU quarterback Jalen Hurts finished second in voting for the award behind LSU's Joe Burrow.

All three of those QBs under Riley went on to be drafted in the NFL. Williams' skillset is similar to all three of those NFL quarterbacks. He is a mobile, dual-threat passer.

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Now heading to Oklahoma, the right-handed passer will likely have to sit a year behind 2019 backups Spencer Rattler and Tanner Mordecai. Rattler is a fellow five-star prospect who is classified as a redshirt freshman after taking just a few snaps in 2019. He likely has NFL aspirations and will be entering his junior - and potentially final - year with the Sooners when Williams would be a redshirt freshman. Mordecai, entering his redshirt sophomore season, would be a senior for the Gonzaga QB's freshman year.

That's if Riley decided to redshirt Williams, of course. 

"I can see him starting Day 1, but I can also see him sitting in a situation at Oklahoma," Troth said. "Because Spencer Rattler when he came in he’s done well. I think off the field will determine that quarterback room. Spencer Rattler, he falls along the lines of he’s a very confident individual, right?  More like Baker Mayfield. So it all depends on how you can rally the troops around you. At the end of the day, that’s a great situation. Lincoln Riley will maximize it."

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Maryland fans held out hope that Williams would choose to play in nearby College Park. However, earlier this offseason they received the services of Alabama QB transfer Taulia Tagovailoa, the brother of former Alabama and current Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. His first season of eligibility in 2021 would also be Williams' freshman season.

Locksley has created quite the reputation of 'swiping' recruits after the stunner he pulled by getting WR Rakim Jarrett to flip from LSU to the Terps. Still, experts and 247Sports' Crystal Ball expected Williams to head to Norman and he did.

Maryland has had a nice spring on the recruiting trail. The Terps currently have 16 commits and 247Sports ranks them No. 16 overall in its recruiting rankings. That's a solid leap so far after Locksley's first full recruiting class was ranked No. 31. He was hired Dec. 4, 2018. 

Locksley has secured verbal commitments from across the defensive line from four-star recruits Demeioun Robinson (Quince Orchard), Marcus Bradley (Quince Orchard) and Taizse Johnson (St. John's). But Williams would have brought some desperately-needed star power to the quarterback spot, where injuries and inconsistency have plagued Maryland for years. It was a disappointing, if expected, result. 

Overall, Williams is ranked the fourth-best prospect in the 2021 class, according to 247Sports. ESPN has the passer at No. 15 and he is the No. 2 QB in its top 300 list.

“Caleb is a great kid. He’s an engaging personality,” Troth said. “That’s the other part of what you’re getting. You’re getting the whole package as a quarterback. He’s a guy that can be the face of your franchise. And I think he understands that. It’ll be interesting. Nobody I’ve ever seen is a sure thing, but he’s close to it.” 
 

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Report: Big 12 planning to play football this fall

Report: Big 12 planning to play football this fall

Despite growing momentum to cancel the fall football season, the Big 12 reportedly is moving forward with their plans to play.

ESPN reporter Sam Khan Jr. reported on Wednesday morning that the Big 12's board of directors met for over an hour yesterday to discuss the fallout of decisions made to postpone the fall season from conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12. 

Following days of speculation the Big Ten would cancel fall sports, the conference officially pulled the plug Tuesday citing concerns of the myriad of complications that come along with playing a season during a pandemic. 

The Big 12, however, is leading the charge in trying to set up safe way to play the fall season. ESPN reported there will be revised conference-only schedules coming out shortly after the season was again pushed back to Sept. 26. Stadium reported the Big 12 may have more news. 

The decision also comes on the back of growing support from athletes to find a solution in making sure this season gets played. The face of college football, Trevor Lawrence, has repeatedly tweeted his stance that going forward with a season will actually be safer for the athletes

Whether or not more Power 5 sides like the SEC and ACC follow suit remains to be seen, but it is widely speculated that these football-crazed conferences are determined to find a way. 

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Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren says there was 'too much uncertainty' to have a fall season

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren says there was 'too much uncertainty' to have a fall season

Less than a week ago, the Big Ten Conference released a 2020 conference-only football schedule. Though there were no guarantees it would be played amid the coronavirus pandemic, it seemed like a positive step for college athletics.

Fast forward to Tuesday, and the Big Ten announced that the fall sports season would be no more. What caused the quick departure? According to commissioner Kevin Warren, it wasn't additional facts about COVID-19 and its impact, but rather the lack of them.

“There’s too much uncertainty," Warren said on Tuesday during an interview on the Big Ten Network. "We have a lot of uncertainty going on now.”

The coronavirus has been in the United States for several months now, but much is still unknown about its effects on the human body and society. While the Big Ten had been working diligently to provide its players and staff with testing and up-to-date protocols, not every possible outcome could be covered.

As Warren explained it, for each question that is answered in relation to COVID-19, a new one pops up. As the pandemic continues on, professionals continue to learn more about how it acts and what impact it can have both short and long term.

An example of that would be Myocarditis –– or the inflammation of the heart muscle -- which has been found in several college athletes and linked to the coronavirus. Not initially considered to be a factor of the virus, it's now become a major concern for the Big Ten and other conferences.

That's just one aspect of the unknown Warren and others are dealing with. Taking a step back and looking at the whole picture, Warren also noted that the COVID-19 questions go beyond the field. It's a problem the entire world is dealing with.

“It’s not only in the Big Ten. I think just across the country and in the world there is so much uncertainty about this virus," Warren said.

In the end, while Warren feels the conference has done a solid job of protecting players during workouts in the summer, there was still too much to be learned before he and others could feel comfortable resuming collegiate sports.

Now, with hopes to resume in the spring, Warren and other Big Ten officials will head out in search of the answers that will eliminate the unknown of the virus. Just like how society strives to return to normal, continuing to learn will be the only way to make it possible.

“We’ll gather information, prepare, plan and create an environment that our students-athletes will be able to participate in when it’s safe and there’s less uncertainty," Warren said. 

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