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Report: Top quarterback recruit Caleb Williams gave Maryland last word before college decision

Report: Top quarterback recruit Caleb Williams gave Maryland last word before college decision

On Saturday night, the No. 1 quarterback prospect of the 2021 recruiting class will announce his decision on where he will spend his college career. And he may not even have to leave the DMV to do it.

Gonzaga’s junior signal caller Caleb Williams has narrowed his list of options down to three schools: Oklahoma, LSU and Maryland. Though the Sooners under quarterback guru Lincoln Riley are considered the favorites to land him, the hometown Terrapins have outlasted a plethora of other schools throughout Williams’ decision-making process. According to The Washington Post, he gave head coach Michael Locksley and the Terps final word, last speaking with Maryland coaches on June 27.

Ranked the fourth overall player in his class by 247sports, Williams is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he was named first-team All-Met. As a junior in 2019, he threw for 1,770 yards and 19 touchdowns while showcasing his dual-threat ability by rushing for 838 yards and another 18 scores.

Locksley and the Terps have already enjoyed a successful offseason of recruiting highlighted by landing 247sports’ fourth-ranked wide receiver in the 2020 class, Rakim Jarrett. A product of St. John’s in D.C., he flipped from LSU on signing day, surprising even Locksley.

RELATED: HOW STEFON DIGGS CONVINCED RAKIM JARRETT TO PICK MARYLAND OVER LSU

Though the Terps went just 3-9 (1-8 in Big Ten play) last season, the addition of Jarrett as a legitimate weapon in the passing game may be enough to convince Williams to forego Oklahoma and LSU. He plans to announce his decision Saturday at 9 p.m.

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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.

RELATED: TOP 10 QBs TO PLAY AT A DC, MARYLAND OR VIRGINIA SCHOOL

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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Five-star 2021 QB and Maryland target Caleb Williams sets commitment date

Five-star 2021 QB and Maryland target Caleb Williams sets commitment date

Gonzaga College High School and five-star 2021 quarterback Caleb Williams has set his commitment date.

In his latest 'All on the Line' blog, the rising high school senior announced that he would be announcing his commitment on July 4.

Williams is ranked the No. 1 quarterback and the fourth overall player in the 2021 class, according to 247Sports. The passer is the second-ranked quarterback on ESPN's top 300 list.

The quarterback previously narrowed his list of schools to three, with his home school, the University of Maryland, making the list. However, according to 247Sports Crystal Ball, the Sooners are the heavy favorite to land the quarterback.

The Terps landed a major transfer last month when Taulia Tagovailoa, the brother of former Alabama and current Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, announced that he was transferred to the school. Maryland head coach Mike Locksley was previously was Alabama's offensive coordinator before accepting the Terps head coaching job in December of 2018 and has had a strong relationship with the Tagovailoa family since.

However, landing Tagovailoa might have hurt the Terps chances of Williams staying home. Tagovailoa will presumably have to sit out the 2020 season due to transfer rules but will have the chance to compete for the starting gig in 2021, the same time Williams would arrive on campus. Tagovailoa still has three years of eligibility remaining.

Should Williams go to Oklahoma, he would likely only have to sit behind quarterback Spencer Rattler for one season, as Rattler could declare for the NFL Draft after that. Oklahoma currently doesn't have any other passer on the roster or committed to the university that would challenge Williams for the starting gig in 2022.

Another reason Williams could be leaning towards Oklahoma is that head coach Lincoln Riley has done an incredible job getting his passers to the next level. Riley took over as the Sooners head coach in 2017, and since then, all three of the starting quarterbacks he's coached were NFL Draft picks; Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray both went No. 1 overall in their respective drafts, while Jalen Hurts was a second-round pick this past year.

However, Locksley is really starting to gain momentum during the 2021 recruiting cycle. As it stands now, the Terps currently have 16 players committed, including five four-star prospects. Maryland currently has the 14th ranked recruiting class in the country, according to 247 Sports, which is a major jump from their 31st ranking a year ago. 

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