USC QB Caleb Williams Potential 2024 No. 1 Pick

When USC met with UCLA in the teams’ annual matchup, scouts were present to evaluate both teams’ rosters. While many were watching draft-eligible players, two scouts couldn’t help but notice USC quarterback Caleb Williams despite the 20-year-old not being draft-eligible until next year, according to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.

Williams put on a show for the scouts in an offensive shootout, completing nearly 75% of his passes for 470 yards and two touchdowns through the air, adding on 33 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, as well. This was more of the same for Williams who arrived on the college football scene last season at Oklahoma. Over 11 games, seven of them starts, with the Sooners, Williams passed for 1,912 yards and 21 touchdowns with four interceptions.

After transferring alongside head coach Lincoln Riley to Southern California, Williams exploded as a sophomore. He improved all his passing numbers as a full-time starter throwing for 4,075 yards and 37 touchdowns while still limiting his interceptions to just four through 13 games so far this year. He is set to play in the Cotton Bowl against Tulane after a defeat to the Pac-12 Champion Utes knocked the Trojans out of the College Football Playoff race. Williams was rewarded for his strong season with a Heisman Trophy, a Maxwell Award, and a Walter Camp Award, all honors given to college football’s most outstanding players.

So what did scouts have to say about watching Williams this season? They told Farmer that “there’s a real chance Williams could be the No. 1 overall pick” in 2024. One scout claimed he would’ve been the top quarterback prospect last year, in a draft crop that included Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder, Malik Willis, Matt Corral, Bailey Zappe, Sam Howell, Chris Oladokun, Skylar Thompson, and Brock Purdy. While it’s not nearly as clearcut, the same scout even ventured that Williams would have a shot at being a top quarterback in this year’s draft crop which includes Alabama’s Bryce Young, Kentucky’s Will Levis, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, and Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker, among others. If Williams could’ve been the top quarterback prospect in the league’s two most recent draft crops, who’s to say he couldn’t be a top pick next year, as well?

The second scout was in attendance for Williams’s first start at Oklahoma last year as a freshman and raved about the “it” factor Williams has had since the beginning. Both praised his athleticism and arm talent, his timing and accuracy, but throwing in “the moxie, the confidence” as well as “instinctive values that you can’t teach” gives Williams intangibles that help put him above the rest of the crowd.

It’s far too soon to determine where Williams’s competition will come from next year. Fellow young stars like North Carolina’s Drake Maye or Texas’s Quinn Ewers may push Williams for the top pick. A new unproven starter like Alabama’s Jalen Milroe or Ohio State’s Kyle McCord may have a breakout season. Experienced veterans at the college level like Washington’s Michael Penix or Florida State’s Jordan Travis may make a case. Transferring stars like former Chanticleer Grayson McCall, former Tiger D.J. Uiagalelei, or former Wolfpack quarterback Devin Leary could find a new home to excel in and catch the eyes of scouts.

Williams has lots of pressure on his shoulders heading into his junior season. The reigning Heisman champion will have all eyes on him as he tries to lead the Trojans to the College Football Playoffs that they just missed this year. He’ll be attempting to match his production from this season or, at the very least, not damage his draft stock while holding off all other contenders for the right to be the top passer in the draft. It will be a challenge for Williams to maintain the title of top quarterback prospect, let alone the No. 1 overall pick.

View Comments (23)