Oklahoma football: LSU 2021 QB commitment could be good news for Sooners

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 08: Oklahoma Sooners helmets
NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 08: Oklahoma Sooners helmets /

A pair of recruiting announcements on Monday — neither of which, by the way, came from Norman, Oklahoma — could be a signal of good things to come on the recruiting front for the Oklahoma football program.

The Sooners have landed just five commitments for 2021, but they are in line for one of the prime prospects in the entire 2021 class in five-star quarterback Caleb Williams. The odds that Lincoln Riley can reel in the highly touted QB prospect got a little better on Monday, when LSU announced that Garrett Nussmeier, ranked as the 13th best pro-style quarterback in the 2021 class had committed to the reigning national champions.

At the same time the Nussmeier commitment to LSU was being made official, Williams announced that he has narrowed his recruiting preferences down to three finalists: Oklahoma. LSU and Maryland. That’s from a list of offers from practically every major program in the nation, including Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Florida, and others.

Most national recruiting services, including Rivals.com, have Oklahoma as the favorite to land the Williams, who both Rivals and ESPN rate as the No, 1 dual-threat quarterback in the class and a top-10 player overall.

The fact that LSU now has a 2021 quarterback commitment from another highly rated prospect would seem to work in Oklahoma’s favor. Nussmeier just may be the domino that tips the scale and triggers a cascade of talent toward OU that goes beyond the country’s top-rated quarterback prospect.

You also have to factor in that Williams’ initial interest in LSU was heavily weighted by former NFL assistant Joe Brady’s presence on the LSU coaching staff as the passing game coordinator and the success he had with Heisman winning quarterback and No, 1 overall NFL Draft pick Joe Burrow. Brady is no longer at LSU, however, having departed after last season to become the offensive coordinator of the NFL Carolina Panthers.

In his “All on the Line” blog that he chronicles for Sports Illustrated, Williams wrote on Monday:

"“I really like those schools (LSU, OU and Maryland) are the best schools for me overall, not just for football…I really feel that those three can help propel me to the next level and help propel my game to the next level…”"

LSU has redshirt junior Myles Brennan on the roster and expected to be the heir apparent to Burrow next season, and the national champions have 2020 recruit Max Johnson coming in as a freshman and then Nussmeir as a 2021 commit. You would think that would be enough to dissuade Williams, who hails from the Washington, D.C., area, from retaining the Tigers on his recruiting short list.

The Sooners have three QBs on the roster currently, with another former No, 1 QB prospect, Spencer Rattler, expected to move into the starting role and become the next star quarterback under Lincoln Riley, who in the last three years has groomed a pair of Heisman winners as well as a Heisman runner-up.

It’s a little surprising that Maryland is one of the three final choices Williams is considering. The Terrapins are still trying to put the pieces together in their football program in the aftermath of the firing of former head coach D.J. Durkin. Durkin was relieved of his duties after one of his players suffered a heatstroke at practice two years ago and later died. During the investigation surrounding the player death, a New York Times report characterized the Maryland football program as “dysfunctional and having a toxic culture.”

Maryland was 3-9 overall in 2019 and just 1-8 in the Big Ten, and their prospects aren’t much better for the coming season. Hard to imagine that’s the kind of program William would want to align himself with if he wants to be part of a championship culture, even if it is a lot closer to home than Norman, Oklahoma.

Williams has been open about the relationship he has been building with Lincoln Riley, acknowledging that the two have studied film together during the quarantine period stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. The Oklahoma offense and Riley’s record in working with quarterbacks and preparing them for success at the next level was a big factor in getting Rattler to come to the Oklahoma plains; it should be enough to get Williams there, as well.

And there’s another potential windfall that comes with earning a commitment from Williams. It has been widely speculated that their are several other top-rated 2021 prospects who are waiting to see which way the wind blows for Williams and are very interested in following him wherever he ultimately ends up.

If you can believe what Sports Illustrated’s Parker Thune had to say this week about where Oklahoma’s quest to land Williams stands, Sooner fans, you can prepare for landing:

"“Ever since the Sooners lost Brock Vandagriff’s commitment in January, Lincoln Riley has been all in on luring (Caleb) Williams to Norman, and his investment in the young, five-star field general is primed to yield massive returns.“So here’s the skinny: LSU just landed its Class of 2021 quarterback, Maryland stands no chance of competing for national titles in the immediate future, and Lincoln Riley might as well pop open the champagne. If Caleb Williams to Norman wasn’t a foregone conclusion already, it sure looks like it now.”"