With the NFL draft rapidly approaching, former USC football quarterback Caleb Williams continues to make headlines. The gunslinger caught heat late last week after unconfirmed reports surfaced that Williams did not want to play for the Chicago Bears. Those close to Williams quickly shot down the rumors, with Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd suggesting that the former Heisman Trophy winner wanted to avoid playing for a team that “doesn’t care.” However, Williams’ college coach, Lincoln Riley, joined the Pat McAfee Show on Monday, discussing his former signal-caller’s future in the NFL.
"All Caleb Williams cares about is winning & he wants to help a franchise be successful..
He's very low key about it all & the team he has around him is very low maintenance..
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) February 5, 2024
USC Football Head Coach Lincoln Riley: Sets the Record Straight on Pat McAfee Show
Lincoln Riley took to the airwaves on Monday, joining the Pat McAfee show. When pressed about NFL teams contacting him about former quarterback Caleb Williams, Riley provided a lengthy but informative response.
“We’ve talked to quite a few already. People see the talent on the field. I think they want to know about the guy in the meeting room. They want to know about the guy in the locker room, what kind of leader he is, and the person he is. They are trying to learn what makes this person tick.”
When pressed about reports about Williams’ unwillingness to play for a franchise, Riley responded, saying, “I think it’s a total smokescreen. Knowing Caleb, location-wise, I don’t think he cares one bit where he is at. All these franchises are in really good cities. He wants to win. It’s less about location, and it’s just more about getting in the right situation where he knows he can continue to develop and do the things he needs to do to help a franchise be successful. That’s it. He’s got a one-track mind that way. I don’t think there is any truth to that at all.”
Riley believes there is no validity to the stories surrounding Williams and avoiding certain franchises. Riley coached Williams during his college career, spanning one year with the Oklahoma Sooners and two with the USC football program.
“He’s about one thing. He’s about ball. He’s about winning. They try to keep the main thing the main thing. He’s a lightning rod right now. If he doesn’t talk, it’s a big story. If he talks, it’s a big story. There’s going to be attention no matter what. At the end of the day, this kid is about the right things, and he will make an NFL team very happy.”
Caleb Williams: Expected Top Pick
Caleb Williams is the odds-on-favorite to become the first overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. The six-foot-one signal-caller started his college career at Oklahoma, throwing for 1,912 yards and 21 touchdowns against four picks in 2021. He followed Lincoln Riley to USC the following season, tossing 4,537 passing yards and 42 touchdowns while winning the 2022 Heisman Trophy Award.
Williams took a small step back this season, accumulating 3,633 passing yards and 30 touchdowns with five picks. He posted his highest quarterback rating but fell short in yards and touchdowns. The future first-round pick ran for 966 yards and 27 scores during his three-year NCAA career.