With Caleb Williams, Lincoln Riley's Plan is Unfolding Perfectly

The stream of Kyler Murray to Spencer Rattler to Caleb Williams is flowing nicely, but needs to avoid a quarterback logjam
Author:
Publish date:
Caleb Williams

Caleb Williams

Just like the big boomers lighting up the skies across America tonight, everyone knew this party would happen. Sooner Nation made extensive plans for it.

It’s no less a celebration.

Caleb Williams has verbally committed to Oklahoma.

No big deal. Just another 5-star quarterback going to Norman to play for Lincoln Riley.

For the second time in three years and the third time in four, the Sooners have landed the nation’s top dual-threat high school quarterback.

In late 2015, Riley got a call from Texas phenom Kyler Murray, who wanted to transfer out of Texas A&M. Murray became the Sooners’ starter in 2018, won the Heisman Trophy and lead OU to another Big 12 title and appearance in the College Football Playoff.

In 2017, Riley got a verbal pledge from Arizona standout Spencer Rattler, who became the top prize of the 2019 recruiting class and seems to be headed toward stardom — assuming he wins the starting job this season.

This time it’s Williams, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound dual-threat athlete from Washington, D.C., and the most coveted quarterback in the 2021 recruiting cycle.

Williams is the top dual-threat quarterback in the country according to Rivals, 247 Sports and ESPN.

As a junior at Gonzaga College High School, Williams passed for 1,770 yards and 19 touchdowns and rushed for 838 yards and 18 touchdowns. His style of play and physical attributes have drawn comparisons to Donovan McNabb.

This week, Williams was named MVP of the Elite 11 Finals, a quarterback competition in Nashville that features 20 top high school prospects from around the country.

If all goes according to Riley’s plan, Williams’ arrival next year will be perfect timing:

  • Rattler will stay healthy and be a two-year starter and play so well in 2020 and 2021 that NFL teams will want to take him high in the 2022 draft.
  • Williams will get a little game action in 2021 behind Rattler, then take over the starting job in 2022 and play so well in 2023 that NFL teams will want to take him high in the 2024 draft.

Of course, any number of glitches could disrupt Riley’s perfect plan:

  • Tanner Mordecai wins the starting job and Rattler ends up transferring.
  • Rattler gets injured or is ineffective and is in and out of the lineup and stays four years, and Williams either can’t beat him out or ends up transferring.
  • Riley signs another prospect that beats out Williams and Williams ends up transferring.
  • Someone gets in trouble and leaves the program.

Having a logjam at quarterback could certainly get complicated.

In reality, anything could happen. All of those scenarios already have happened at Oklahoma at some point in the last 20 years.

But whatever does happen, Riley will adapt his plan and do what he must to keep the Sooners in contention for a playoff appearance. He’s proven himself over these last three seasons to be much more than a quarterback whisperer and clever play-caller.

However it shakes out, Riley even having access to that Plan A — having the luxury of a stunning collection of quarterback talent in a five-year succession — should set off fireworks for Sooner fans.

To get the latest OU posts as they happen, join the SI Sooners Community by clicking “Follow” at the top right corner of the page (mobile users can click the notifications bell icon), and follow SI Sooners on Twitter @All_Sooners.