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Caleb Williams making case for Heisman Trophy

Caleb Williams making case for Heisman Trophy
Southern California Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) throws against the UCLA Bruins during the first half at the Rose Bowl. (Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

LOS ANGELES (BVM) – Caleb Williams’ momentum towards the Heisman Trophy continued over the weekend following another dominant performance over a Pac-12 opponent. With a threetouchdown showing against UCLA, Williams’ play is letting people know that the award might just be his to lose.

The primetime matchup against the Bruins provided Williams the much deserved spotlight he’s been waiting for this season. Through 11 games, the USC quarterback has passed for 3,480 yards and 33 touchdowns to just three interceptions. With other Heisman hopefuls like Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud getting a weekly seat in front of the nation, Williams would go on to make the most of his recent opportunity, garnering the attention that a likely-Heisman favorite receives. 

“Having coached some guys like that in the past, guys that win individual awards, you don’t focus on that,” USC head coach Lincoln Riley said of Williams’ Heisman hype following the game. “You just try to win each week for your team. Those are the guys that find a way to do it. 

“He’s been one of the best players in the country this year. He’s played really well. All those things, it’s got to stay about the ball, and that’s the most important thing. I know that’s the most important thing to him and all of us. Maybe those things come to fruition, that’s great, but those are byproducts. That’s not why we’re here tonight, and I can speak for him and say that’s not why he’s here.”

Caleb Williams USC Trojans
USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) warms up before a game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

Williams and the Trojans are coming on as of late, recently receiving an increase to No. 5 in the AP Top 25 rankings. Over the past five games, the 6-foot-1 sophomore has totaled 23 touchdowns, while picking up a major rivalry win over the No. 16-ranked team in the country. Williams’ career-high 470 passing yards on 32-of-43 passing against UCLA marked the sixth 300-yard passing performance of the 2022 season, while now notching 400 yards, twice. With the return of Jordan Addison at wide receiver, expectations for the group should be sky high.

That’s just who he is,” center Brett Neilon said of Williams following the UCLA game. “He’s a competitor. He’s so confident in himself, but it doesn’t come off in a cocky way. He just really knows how to rally the guys and make everyone feel comfortable. When you see your leader or your quarterback freaking out, it can kind of spread throughout the offense or the team. He’s just so confident in himself. He’s just an A+ guy.”

Williams has successfully turned around the Trojans in just one season after following Riley to the program. With a 4-8 season in 2021 for USC representing a disappointing collapse, the sophomore quarterback has quickly transitioned to a new atmosphere by taking his play up a notch from the previous year. 

Caleb Williams USC
Southern California Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) before playing against the UCLA Bruins at Rose Bowl. (Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

After taking over for Oklahoma starter Spencer Rattler against Texas, Williams went on to pass for 1,810 yards and 21 touchdowns in his opening campaign. High expectations have not slowed down the first-year Trojans starter who has more than just individual awards on his agenda with his team currently sitting at 10-1.

With Stroud, Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker, and Michigan running back Blake Corum getting much of the early Heisman buzz, Williams currently slots in second according to betting odds, only behind the Buckeyes’ signal caller.

With a final regular season game against Notre Dame on the slate, Williams has the opportunity to break things wide open.