Oklahoma football: OU gets its man, 5-star, No. 1 QB Caleb Williams


Let the fireworks begin. On the 244th birthday of the United States, the top Oklahoma football recruit of the 2021 class announced his college choice with a Boomer Sooner.

light. Related Story. Sooners in the fight for several highly rated 2021 recruits

It may be the worst kept secret in college football recruiting. Two months ago today, Caleb Williams, rated as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the 2021 class, announced that he had narrowed the lengthy list of schools pursuing his commitment to just three: Oklahoma, LSU and Maryland.

On the Fourth of July, Williams ended what drama there was surrounding his recruiting decision by declaring his intent to play football for the University of Oklahoma, confirming what practically every college football expert had been projecting since he announced his three finalists.

Williams made his much-anticipated announcement on CBS Sports HQ, a streaming sports network.

Although his arrival in Norman is still a year out, Williams will join another five-star No. 1 prospect in Spencer Rattler, the top-ranked quarterback in the 2019 class, who is expected to be Oklahoma’s fourth different starting QB in as many seasons when the 2020 season kicks off.

Williams, who is from the Washington, D.C, area, becomes the Sooners’ 11th verbal commitment for the 2021 class, which should gain some extra momentum now that Williams’ intentions have been made known.

The Sooners’ 2021 recruiting class is currently ranked 24th by ESPN and 36th by Rivals. This is certain to change with Williams’ commitment. It has been widely speculated that his commitment would also trigger a string of pledges from other highly rated recruits who have indicated they would like to play in college where Williams does.

One of these top prospects is four-star cornerback Latrell McCutchin, who committed to the Sooners just an hour or so ahead of Williams’ commitment, becoming the 10th member of OU’s 2021 class. McCutchin had been committed to Alabama for nine months before decommitting after a visit to Oklahoma. Also expected to sign on with the Sooners soon is four-star wide receiver Jalil Farooq, who, like Williams, is from Washington, D.C.

It will be interesting to see what impact Williams’ commitment will have on the Sooners recruitment of Camar Wheaton, the No. 1 running back in the class, and others that Riley and his staff are targeting.

Top QB in the 2021 class commits to Oklahoma.

Riley and his staff began recruiting Williams heavily after four-star prospect Brock Vandagriff decommitted from the Sooners on Jan. 1 this year. Vandagriff had been committed to Oklahoma since June 2019. He has since committed to Georgia in his home state.

Early on, it appeared that Williams might end up at LSU because of what he had seen assistant coach Joe Brady do with Heisman Trophy QB and No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Joe Burrow. Brady, however, left LSU after the school’s national championship season to become offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers in the NFL.

Despite Brady’s decision, Williams continued to have LSU as one of his top-three choices, saying that Brady’s departure did not alter his interest in LSU.

That may have been the case initially, but some experts believe LSU played its cards concerning quarterback recruiting for the 2021 class when it announced the commitment of four-star prospect Garrett Nussmeier, rated by Rivals as No. 6 overall among 2021 quarterback recruits. The reigning national champions also gained the 2022 commitment of another four-star QB, Walker Howard, who committed to the Tigers in mid-June.

Maryland has been struggling the past couple of seasons and had a head-coaching change last season. New head coach Mike Locksley has been recruiting Williams hard. And the Terrapins had a built-in advantage in being the closest of the three finalists to Williams’ D.C. home.

Maryland may not have lost interest in the QB recruiting battle for Williams, but it clearly hedged its bet, landing Taulia Tagovailoa, the younger brother of former Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa, through the transfer portal. The younger Tagovailoa was at Alabama last season. That move sent another strong signal about where all of Williams’ suitors actually believed his head was about his collegiate landing spot.

All of this to say that it would have been a shock of seismic proportions had Williams’ commitment announcement been anything but Oklahoma.

Under Lincoln Riley, and Bob Stoops before him, Oklahoma has become known as a grooming ground for top quarterback talent. Four former Sooner quarterbacks have won the Heisman Trophy in the past two decades — two under Stoops (Jason White in 2003 and Sam Bradford in 2008) and two under Riley (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray in back-to-back years, 2017 and ’18) — and two other were runners-up in the Heisman voting (Josh Heupel in 2000 and Jalen Hurts in 2019).

It would be hard to believe that Riley’s record coaching and developing quarterbacks didn’t have a major influence on Williams’ decision. Who wouldn’t want to go play for a coach and team that has produced three consecutive Heisman Trophy finalists at the quarterback position to go along with three consecutive conference championships and the same number of College Football Playoff appearances.

Whether it did or didn’t, what matters is that Caleb Williams has verbally committed to become an Oklahoma Sooner.

To paraphrase the popular line from the movie “Field of Dreams,” OU football continues to build for the future and has landed a key piece for doing so. Now it will be fun to see who elects to follow the country’s top 2021 quarterback prospect and play for a perennial national championship contender.