Caleb Williams has long been viewed as the next big quarterback prospect, but any NFL team already thinking about adding the reining Heisman Trophy winner in the draft might want to proceed with caution.
The USC quarterback, who is already the heavy favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, isn’t sure if he’ll end up declaring early as he gets set to begin his junior season.
“That’s for sure now going to be an in-the-moment decision at the end of the year,” Williams told ESPN of possibly holding off his NFL dreams and staying in college for his senior season. “It’s my third year, and the dream and goal was to go three-and-out. Being around these guys and in college and enjoying it, we’ll have to see at the end of this year.”
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Williams added there are “a lot” of factors that could impact his decision whether to enter the 2024 NFL Draft or not.
“I don’t think there’d be one specific thing to effect and detour that type of decision,” Williams said. “It’d have to be a multitude of things to lead me to one side or the other.”
The deadline for declaring for the NFL Draft typically falls in the days after the National Championship Game in January, so Williams still has plenty of time to make his decision.
The talented USC QB has already put together a wildly successful college career. He took over for Spencer Rattler during his freshman season at Oklahoma in 2021, leading the Sooners to a comeback win in the Red River Rivalry game as he provided a much-needed spark for the offense. He started at quarterback for the remainder of the season, throwing for 1,912 yards, 21 touchdowns and four interceptions, while also adding 442 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns as he helped Oklahoma win the Alamo Bowl.
Following the 2021 campaign, Williams followed former Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley to USC.
Riley, who recruited Williams to Oklahoma, named the former five-star recruit his starter upon his arrival to USC. Williams soared to a higher level in 2022, throwing for 4,537 yards, 42 touchdowns and five interceptions, while also adding 382 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. He helped lead the Trojans to an 11-3 record and a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game, where they fell to Utah. One week later, Williams won the Heisman Trophy.
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Heading into the 2023 season, Williams is the favorite to win the Heisman as he looks to become the second player in history to win the award in back-to-back seasons. USC is also expected to be back in national championship contention, in large part due to Williams and the Trojans’ explosive offense. USC is ranked No. 6 in the first AP preseason poll of the year.
Williams and the Trojans are set to kick off the 2023 season with matchup against San Jose State at 8 p.m. ET Saturday.
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