On Monday, the USC football program announced they would play this year’s Holiday Bowl without 2022 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Caleb Williams, per team analyst Scott Schrader. Even though bowl season remains one of the best parts of the college football season, it has taken a hit over recent years, with the sport’s best athletes becoming more likely to opt out of postseason play.
— Scott Schrader (@SSchraderOn3) December 4, 2023
Miller Moss is next on the quarterback depth chart for the Trojans. He went 23 of 32 for 309 yards and one touchdown in four games this season. He also ran for 19 yards and two scores. USC also houses true freshman and former mega prospect Malachi Nelson. The 19-year-old has attempted just three pass attempts in 2023.
QB Caleb Williams: Shines with USC Football
Williams, a five-star prospect from Gonzaga High School in Washington, DC, played his first collegiate season with the Oklahoma Sooners and head coach Lincoln Riley in 2021. The six-foot-one gunslinger impressed, throwing for 1,912 yards and 21 touchdowns against four picks after taking over for former starter Spencer Rattler. Williams followed Riley to USC in 2022 after the Trojans pegged the latter as their newest head coach.
Williams posted historic numbers during his inaugural season with the Trojans, throwing for 4,537 yards and 42 touchdowns against five picks. He also ran for 382 yards and ten scores. Williams dominated award season, winning the 2022 Heisman Memorial Trophy, the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, and earned Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year honors.
However, Williams and the Trojans did not meet their lofty expectations this season, going 7-5 and missing out on a New Year’s Six bowl. The 22-year-old saw steady regression in his surface numbers, throwing for 3,633 yards and 30 touchdowns against five picks.
Caleb Williams: Sitting Out Bowl Season
Williams will not play in his team’s postseason game against the Louisville Cardinals in late December. Williams projects to go as early as the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft. It has become more commonplace for top-tier draft prospects to sit out their respective bowl games if they do not make the College Football Playoff. Standouts Anthony Richardson, Bijan Robinson, and Will Levis skipped their team’s bowl games last season to prepare for the NFL draft. The trio all went in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft.