During his freshman season at the University of Oklahoma, quarterback Caleb Williams showed flashes of superstardom.
In a Lincoln Riley-led offense, Williams put up big numbers. He threw for 1,912 yards, 21 touchdowns, and just four interceptions. On the ground, he added 442 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns on just 79 total carries. With his success on the field, he led Oklahoma to an 11-2 record and a 47-32 victory over Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.
Before the end of the season, Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma to become the USC Head Coach. Not long after, Caleb Williams opted to join his head coach at the school. In the following season, Williams reached an even higher level with his play on the field.
The 2022 season was near perfect for Caleb Williams and this USC team. While they missed out on a trip to the college football playoffs, this team still made an appearance in the Pac-12 championship game. Along with this, Williams led USC to an 11-2 season. Before he arrived in 2021, they finished 4-8.
With Caleb Williams leading this team, they have a superstar at the top. A Heisman trophy on their resume would only add to a near-perfect season for this unit.
Here is why Caleb Williams must win the Heisman Trophy
On the way to an 11-2 record and a trip to the Cotton Bowl, Caleb Williams and USC were met with a hard path. They took on three teams ranked in the top 25, including Utah twice. They walked out of these matchups with a 3-2 record.
Williams kept the USC offense alive at times. They finished the season scoring 30 or more points in 11 of their games. They averaged 41.1 points per game, which was the third most in the nation.
As each week went by, and USC continued to rack up wins, Caleb Williams seemed to play better with each outing. He finished the season throwing for 4,075 passing yards, 37 touchdowns, and just four interceptions. He finished the season ranking in the top four in both passing yards and passing touchdowns. On the ground, he added 372 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 109 total carries.
When breaking down Williams’ 2022 season, his numbers manage to look even better. In nine games this season, he accounted for three or more touchdowns. This includes eight games with four or more touchdowns. He also racked up seven games with 300 or more passing yards.
From weeks seven through 11, Caleb Williams looked to be the most dominant quarterback in the nation. With games against Utah, Arizona, California, Colorado, and UCLA, Williams filled up the stat sheet. Over this stretch, he threw for 1,890 yards, 19 touchdowns, and just two interceptions. On the ground, he added four touchdowns, bringing his total to 23 over this stretch.
While the season didn’t go to plan for Williams and USC, arguably his most impressive outing came in the Pac-12 championship. USC walked away losing to Utah 47-24, but Williams legitimately left everything on the field.
In the game, he threw for 363 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. On the ground, he broke off several big plays, including a 59-yard rush. In the end, a hamstring injury impacted Williams heavily in the second half of the game. Instead of leaving the field, Williams chose to continue to battle with his teammates, ultimately giving him yet another “Heisman moment”.
In order for Caleb Williams to take home the Heisman trophy, he will need to take down three other of the nation’s best quarterbacks. Georiga’s Stetson Bennett, TCU’s Max Duggan, and Ohio State’s CJ Stroud all stand in his way. And each of them has also done more than enough to have earned the award. But Williams has been the most consistent of the bunch. While not only leading the turnaround of a USC program that had struggled majorly in recent years, Williams put together one of the best campaigns in recent history.
Not earning a spot in the playoffs could be the argument made against Caleb Williams to not bring home the Heisman trophy. But throughout the regular season, he put together several elite outings. In the end, he has done enough to earn the 2022 Heisman trophy.
USC, one of the most prominent college football programs in the nation, hasn’t had a Heisman winner in just under two decades. The last USC players to take home the award were running back Reggie Bush and quarterback Matt Leinart. Now, Williams could be the next on the list.