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OU football: A Caleb Williams commitment could boost Sooners, but he's in no rush

Rivals.com rates OU target Caleb Williams of Washington, D.C.’s Gonzaga College High School as the nation's No. 1 quarterback in the 2021 recruiting class. [Gonzaga TD Club photo via USA Today Sports]
Rivals.com rates OU target Caleb Williams of Washington, D.C.’s Gonzaga College High School as the nation's No. 1 quarterback in the 2021 recruiting class. [Gonzaga TD Club photo via USA Today Sports]

NORMAN — When quarterback Brock Vandagriff decommitted from OU on New Year’s Day, it appeared to be a big hit for the Sooners’ 2021 recruiting class.

Vandagriff’s commitment had made a splash and sent OU rocketing up recruiting rankings. It created a buzz with other 2021 recruits — especially on the offensive side — as Vandagriff was at the time ranked as the top overall player in the class by Rivals.

But it seems as if the Sooners are on the verge of another big splash in quarterback recruiting as the favorites to land five-star, dual-threat prospect Caleb Williams of Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C.

Williams narrowed the list of schools he’s considering to three last week — OU, LSU and Maryland.

Williams has built a strong relationship with coach Lincoln Riley, and the Sooners appear to be the favorites for Rivals' newly-minted No. 1 quarterback in the class. The site has Williams ranked No. 3 among all positions.

OU’s status as the front-runner became even stronger last week when Garrett Nussmeier, a Rivals four-star prospect from Flower Mound, Texas, committed to LSU.

While the Tigers figure to keep going hard after Williams — LSU signed two quarterbacks in the 2020 class — Nussmeier’s commitment undoubtedly lessens their chances.

Maryland coach Mike Locksley has a reputation as a top-flight recruiter and has built a relationship with Williams over several years, dating back to Williams' freshman year when Locksley was Alabama’s offensive coordinator.

With a strong arm to go with plenty of speed — Williams said recently he thought he could get to a sub-4.5 40 time — Williams fits into the mold of Riley’s recent quarterback additions.

All of the Sooners’ starting quarterbacks under Riley have had mobility, though that presented in different ways. Baker Mayfield was shifty and though not overly fast could make plays with his feet. Kyler Murray has world-class speed while possessing the ability to avoid big hits that could lead to injury. Jalen Hurts ran more like a running back, rushing for nearly 1,300 yards last season.

Williams’ commitment could give the Sooners a recruiting boost — look at the momentum they built in the 2019 class after Spencer Rattler’s commitment, though that had more time to build thanks to Rattler’s early commitment.

And the Sooners could use a shot of momentum in the 2021 class. OU has just five commitments in the class with the recent addition of Florida high school linebacker Danny Stutsman. The Sooners are ranked No. 48 in Rivals’ team rankings for 2021 and eighth in the Big 12 ahead of just TCU and Oklahoma State.

But Williams isn’t in a rush to make a decision, saying recently that he hoped to have time to make visits after the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.

“This decision could mean a lot for me and my family for generations to come,” Williams told Baltimore’s Glenn Clark Radio on March 30.

“So I want to make the right decision. So I’m not rushing. But I do want to commit. I just don’t know when, especially with the pandemic right now. I’ve always wanted to commit before senior year.”

Ryan Aber

Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The... Read more ›

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