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OU football: QB Caleb Williams, five-star Sooners commit, has plan to become No. 1 pick in NFL Draft

Quarterback Caleb Williams is slated to be joining Oklahoma next summer. [GONZAGA COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL via USA TODAY SPORTS]
Quarterback Caleb Williams is slated to be joining Oklahoma next summer. [GONZAGA COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL via USA TODAY SPORTS]

Caleb Williams’ seven-step plan begins with reaching the next level of competition, which the five-star quarterback out of Washington, D.C., helped solidify with last week’s verbal commitment to Oklahoma.

Almost every recruit has a plan, though the length and width of this vision is almost always directly proportional to talent and recruiting hype. For Williams, “the most talented quarterback prospect to come from the Mid-Atlantic region in a decade,” per 247Sports.com, the blueprint starts small.

Step one: Get to college. He’s scheduled to arrive on campus next summer, joining a quarterback room currently headlined by redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler, himself a former five-star prospect and the Sooners’ projected starter for this coming season.

Next, learn the playbook. Step three: Earn the respect of his teammates.

Then it begins to broaden. Step four: “Get the starting spot” with the Sooners, which would place Williams in a recent lineage that includes two Heisman Trophy winners, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, and last year’s runner-up, Jalen Hurts.

Step five: Go win “a bunch of games” at OU, which has reached the College Football Playoff in each of its three seasons under coach Lincoln Riley but never advanced past the national semifinals, the latest trip a humbling, 63-28 loss to LSU in the Peach Bowl this past December.

After taking the penultimate step of graduating with his degree, Williams’ vision culminates at the NFL Draft — and not just in the draft but at its very top.

“That’s a goal of mine, to be the No. 1 pick in the draft,” he said. “That’s always been a goal. It’s pretty cool to be the No. 1 pick in the draft. If you can be, why not be?

“But if I’m not, I’m going to keep working, keep working hard at proving myself. First pick in the draft or not. Hopefully I make it there.”

He believes Oklahoma gives him the best chance to will this vision into existence. Mayfield and Murray topped the draft in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Hurts exceeded his pre-draft rating by landing with the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of this April’s draft.

The versatility and adaptability of the Oklahoma offense was another draw. The Sooners haven’t finished lower than sixth nationally in scoring offense since 2015, when Riley arrived as offensive coordinator.

“Having that much in your arsenal is pretty deadly,” said Williams. “I think I can provide as a quarterback another tool in that tool kit.”

Each scheme across the Sooners’ past three starters has had either subtle or dramatic differences: Murray’s athleticism allowed Riley to add a deeper quarterback-run aspect to the playbook, while Hurts took that development a step further after transferring from Alabama for his final season.

“I can’t really say I’m similar to either one of those more than the other,” Williams said. “But when I watch the games on YouTube or with Coach Riley and I talking, I do see similar things that I do.

“Kyler is a little faster than me. I think I’m a little faster than Baker — pretty sure I’m faster than Baker. I think Kyler can throw a little deeper, I think.”

Williams chose OU over offers from nearly every major program in the Bowl Subdivision — including fellow finalist LSU, which could tout its only recent success under center — despite the presence of Rattler, the top-ranked passer in the 2019 recruiting cycle. While eligibility clocks are potentially subject to the state of this coming season, Rattler is projected to be a redshirt sophomore when Williams arrives on campus next summer.

That could leave Williams in a backup role for at least one season, a scenario that causes “a little sweat,” he admitted.

“If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. Then I’m down for a year, sitting there. If something bad happens, and hopefully it does not, and I’m not the starting guy — if something bad happens, and I hope it doesn’t — then I would try to step in and do my best. But if he has a good, successful year, I’ll be down for a year and that’s about it. And try to be the starter next year.”

But that’s not the plan.

“I know he’s there and everybody knows he’s there,” Williams said. “I’m going to go in and compete. I don’t plan on sitting. I don’t want to sit. I don’t know who would want to sit on the bench.”

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