The USC Trojans ended their 2022 season with an overall record of 11-3 and an 8-1 record against conference opponents. A stellar start to the season saw the Trojans go on a 6-0 run with wins over Oregon State and Washington State. They bounced back from a loss to Utah in Salt Lake City with a 5-0 run and a win over Notre Dame to cap off their regular season.
They fell to Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The game saw USC quarterback Caleb Williams throw for 363 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the 47-24 loss to Utah in Allegiant Stadium. They would lose to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl one month later. Tulane would complete a comeback victory with a late-game touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Pratt. The three-year Green Wave veteran threw a quick strike to wide receiver Alex Bauman in the endzone with just nine seconds remaining.
Williams will return for his second season with the Trojans in 2023. He will join various transfers who have committed to the program over the offseason, including defensive linemen Anthony Lucas, Jack Sullivan and Bear Alexander.
What are some bold predictions for Caleb Williams as USC enters the 2023 season?
4. Caleb Williams will help guide USC to a 6-0 regular-season start
Williams and USC will start the season with games against San Jose State, Nevada, Stanford and Arizona State. They will round out the month of September with a game against Colorado, who hired head coach Deion Sanders in December after going 1-11 the year before.
Williams threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns in the Trojans' 2022 matchup with the Cardinal before throwing for 348 yards against Arizona State three games later. He would have an impressive 411-yard outing against Arizona in 2022, who the Trojans will face this season on Oct. 7.
Williams must have a solid start to the 2023 season before the Trojans face Notre Dame, Utah, Washington, Oregon and UCLA in the second half of their regular-season games. If he does, USC can have a chance of starting 6-0 and before it faces some of its more formidable opponents in the Pac-12 and beyond.
3. Caleb Williams will lead the nation in passing yards and passing touchdowns
Williams came close to leading the nation in passing yards last year.
He finished the 2022 season with a total of 4,537 passing yards, putting him third in the country behind Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and Western Kentucky QB Austin Reed. Both players will return to their respective teams in 2023. Williams still placed ahead of North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye, Georgia Southern QB Kyle Vantrease and Georgia signal caller Stetson Bennett in the national standings.
Williams recorded a total of 42 passing touchdowns in 2022, putting him one place ahead of Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud for the top spot in the country. The Houston Texans selected Stroud with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Williams highlighted what was different going into his second season at USC in a Friday article from ESPN Staff Writer Paolo Uggetti.
“Comfort and confidence,” Williams said, via Uggetti. “Not just for myself but for everybody overall. Confidence in the scheme. When you get a year under your belt, you get a bunch of trials and tribulations, you get successful plays, you get some confidence, and you get to work with it the whole summer. That's what we've been doing.”
If Williams can continue to grow from his 2022 campaign, he will have the opportunity to lead the NCAA in passing yards and touchdowns in 2023.
2. Caleb Williams will earn at least four games with 400+ passing yards
Williams ended last season with three games of 400 passing yards or more and eight games with 300 or more, according to Sports Reference. He recorded as many as 470 passing yards during a win over UCLA in November, adding two touchdowns as the Trojans finished the night with a 48-45 victory in Pasadena.
On top of a few returning options, USC will have transfer receiver Dorian Singer, who committed from Arizona in December after he spent two seasons with the Wildcats. The 6-foot receiver ended last season with just over 1,100 receiving yards.
Williams must get into his stride early with some of the team's newer and returning wide receivers. If he can, he can end next season with at least four games with 400 or more passing yards even as USC's schedule gets tougher down the line.
1. Caleb Williams will repeat as the Heisman Trophy winner
Williams won the Heisman trophy in 2022 after a stellar first season with USC. Williams, Stroud, TCU quarterback Max Duggan and Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett were the four finalists for the award.
“To now be a part of this historic fraternity is truly an honor and something I will cherish for the rest of my life,” Williams said in December, via NFL.com Lead Draft Writer Eric Edholm. “While this may be an individual award, I certainly understand that nothing — and absolutely nothing — in this sport, nor life, is done alone.”
USC quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart won the award in 2002 and 2004, respectively, according to the award's website. Ohio State running back Archie Griffin won the award twice in a row in 1974 and 1975 before he was selected with the 24th pick in the 1976 NFL Draft.
It will be difficult for Williams to join Griffin as a two-time Heisman winner. But if he can replicate the outstanding season that earned him the prestigious award, he will have a decent chance of hoisting the trophy again in 2023.