ORLANDO, Fla. — Caleb Williams. That’s the guy at quarterback in 2021. For a lot of big-name schools.
There is no bigger target for the Bulldogs in the 2021 recruiting class than Williams. Georgia has been and continues to be in the race for the 5-star QB.
Williams said offensive coordinator James Coley has let him know that UGA will not accept the commitment of another 2021 quarterback until he makes his mind up.
“He’s waiting,” Williams said. “That’s what he said. He is going to wait.”
LSU, Maryland and Penn State have told Williams the same thing.
“Clemson they said I am the only offer still,” Williams said. “They called me and said they would probably offer another guy. But I am their only offer right now.”
Williams is different. All the way down to his choice of “Sourpatch Kids” snacks before and during games.
How does he feel would he fit in at Georgia?
“I know that I have certain abilities, I believe myself, that even though I am in high school that [Jake] Fromm doesn’t have,” Williams said. “No offense to Fromm. Fromm is a wonderful guy. He’s the smartest guy that I have seen offensive wise. But he can’t move as much. So they don’t do as much.”
Check this clip. No further explanation is necessary.
He’s right. Williams clocked a laser 4.57 time in the 40 at May 2019 Opening regional. Williams also noticed the recruiting class that Georgia just signed.
“They just got a bunch recruits,” he said. “A bunch of O-line. A bunch of receivers. The defense is Georgia’s defense. The offense can open up. I’ve seen them throw some bombs even though they were missed a few times. Or completed. I have seen them do it. I believe they can do it. If they have the right guy.”
Williams rattled off the names of all those recent signees. Flipping Jermaine Burton from LSU was big. He noticed that along with “Fastest Man” Arian Smith signing and even Marcus Rosemy, too.
“They already have [George] Pickens so if they have those sort of guys you should definitely open it up,” he said.
While Williams does seem to be the “guy” at this time, things can always change rapidly in recruiting.
It will be very interesting to see how the de-commitment of Prince Avenue Christian 5-star arm Brock Vandagriff affects that status going forward. Vandagriff is the nation’s No. 1 pro-style QB for the 2021 cycle and No. 9 overall for the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Caleb Williams: What are his next moves?
The consensus of the published reviews of his “Future 50” camp showing on New Year’s Day had him as the most impressive 2021 recruit at that event.
It certainly looked the summer like Georgia was in the thick of the race for his eventual college decision. Williams discussed his recruiting at length on Tuesday at the Under Armour All-American Game “Future 50” event with other top prospects with the 2021 class.
As he did, he made it clear several teams were still in it. He also downplayed the notion that he was ready to decide.
There was also something left unsaid.
LSU was a program that was in the thick of things before, too. But things have had to have gotten thicker.
How could they not? The Tigers are in the midst of a timeless season led by Heisman winner Joe Burrow. It could serve as a prelude to taking the pole position in his recruitment, if not even earning his commitment.
If that is the case, then Williams did not confirm it at the Future 50. He wouldn’t say that LSU was his No. 1 school. Even though a question or two might have steered him that way. The Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) signal caller wouldn’t even confirm that Coach O’s “Tigahs” were the closest to his No. 1 spot either.
“I would say that I am like (NBA great) Kawhi Leonard in free agency,” he said. “Nobody really knows. I actually don’t know yet.”
That said, LSU does loom large right now. How can it not?
“They’ve done a good job,” Williams said while letting the rest go unsaid.
— Caleb Williams (@CALEBcsw) November 30, 2019
It is hard to imagine a program doing anything more on the field to catch the attention of the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat QB and No. 15 overall recruit (247Sports Composite rankings) than what LSU has put together on the highlight reels this fall.
And yet, there’s still some doubt in the mind here with Williams. At least publicly.
That’s because Williams is smooth. In all things. When a posse of reporters came up to his table for his media day turn, he said something very simple.
“How’s everybody going?” he said. “How’s everybody doing?”
So simple. Except that’s just about as uncommon at one of these things as his pre-game Sourpatch fix.
He said that there were “around seven” schools that still have his attention and are talking to him.
Those are (in the exact order of his recall here): LSU, Georgia, Penn State, Clemson, Maryland and Oregon. He couldn’t get to seven with that. It sounded like a seventh school would be a stretch.
Oregon is the only one of those schools that he has only visited one time. He’s made multiple trips to those other schools.
Future 50: The interesting Caleb Williams elements
The assembled media took a full 22 minutes with Williams on Tuesday. Here are the biggest overall (non-Georgia specific) things he had to say.
Official visits in mind yet? Nope.
Decision timeline? “Before senior year,” he said. “Probably a few months. Probably around spring or summer.”
He said that he could not make a decision today.
“Could not make it today,” he said.
There’s a reason for caution here. It is an admirable, yet essential, quality for a 5-star QB of his stature. Williams will commit and become the face and future of that program.
“I’m a guy that once I commit then I am committed,” he said. “I am not flipping or de-committing. My [high school] coach has instilled that in me since my freshman year. That’s the type of guy he is. He doesn’t want anyone to be committing somewhere else and then de-committing.”
23 minutes? For a high school QB? Watch his highlight tape here before raising an eyebrow. He can play like that. It meant the Georgia, LSU, Penn State and Oregon questions had to be asked.
- An initial question probed for his thoughts on the team that is the No. 1 school on his list scoring 1,000 points in the college football playoff. Williams heard it, played along and then quickly countered that those LSU Tigers were not the No. 1 team on his list. “I wouldn’t say that they are number one, though,” he said. “I wouldn’t say that.”
- He said that the Tigers called him afterward and talked to him about the game. They said that none of the players are done with that. They want more. He has swapped text messages with Mr. Burrreaux already. It meant he spent some time with him in the meeting room during his four-day visit during the season for the Texas A&M game which served as the home finale.
- On Burrow: “You can tell he has a chip on his shoulder and you can see it when he plays,” Williams said. “He’s a really good guy. He texts me back a few times. I joked around with him one time that I got the same hit that he got in a game.”
- Williams joked around with Burrow and told him that he got up faster than he did.
- He has no visits planned. Nothing. It sounds like he doesn’t need to see any more from these schools. Williams had a busy 2019 checking out all of his options. He visited several schools more than one time.
- Penn State just saw its offensive coordinator move on. That will lead to a reorientation period with that school. He said that his long-standing relationship with head coach James Franklin will be able to offset that transition phrase.
- He thought he was close to committing once. But called it more of an “emotional” or an “impulsive” thing.
- Stanford no longer ranks among his most interested schools. That is a change over the course of his junior season.
- Oregon remains in his thoughts because of his connection to head coach Mario Cristobal. “He’s genuine,” Williams said. “I thought they should have been ranked higher, but that’s just me.”
Caleb Williams: What role do specific coaches play here?
Williams wasn’t really interested in Georgia when Jim Chaney was the offensive coordinator. That status changed when James Coley was named the offensive coordinator.
He said he had the Georgia offer, but didn’t really connect with Chaney. It started then there with Coley and defensive coordinator Dan Lanning.
“Georgia texts me every day and things like that,” he said on Tuesday. “They want me to be the guy. They want me to come in. They are all in. I actually talked to Coach Coley about two days ago maybe. We talked. It wasn’t just about ball. It was just us talking. I have a good relationship with Coach Coley. They did tell me that they are all in and they want me to be a ‘Dawg.”
The biggest hurdle for Coley and the Georgia staff here will have to be LSU. Even if it goes unsaid.
How long will Joe Brady be the passing game coordinator there? Is there an NFL future? Those are very good questions. The odds do not seem high that Brady will be around for the 2020 and 2021 seasons in Baton Rouge given his career arc.
“For the schools I am talking to and things like that, I like the schools. I like the coaches. I don’t just like one coach for the school. Because if he left. Everything is moving now. Every coach moves every year. Look at Alabama the past four to five years. The offensive coordinator changes every year. I think Tua [Tagovailoa] has had four different offensive coordinators. Everybody moves. So I can’t be stuck to one coach. Because if he leaves, then what am I there for?”
The 6-foot-2, 207-pound junior is also not able to enroll early out of Gonzaga. So he won’t go through a spring practice prior to his first college season in 2021.
He is content to see that all the head coaches of the schools he is looking at are stable head coaches. New contracts or extensions. That adds to the comfort level of those programs.
Check out the most impressive highlight reel from Williams as a junior below.
DawgNation: All-American game coverage
- Darnell Washington breaks down why he chose to be a Bulldog
- 5-star Georgia RB target Zach Evans explains why he delayed another announcement
- 5-star ATH Darnell Washington has made his college decision
- Zach Evans: Georgia signee talk up his “Heisman” potential
- The TE that didn’t choose Georgia shares his wish for Darnell Washington to be a Bulldog
- Arian Smith made sure the morning after that tough LSU loss wasn’t so bad after all
- WATCH: Brodrick Jones and Jalen Carter reps highlight the Day 3 one-on-one battles
- WATCH: Marcus Rosemy, Arian Smith explain what they’re bringing to the Georgia football wide receiver room
- How Georgia football ended up missing on Tank Bigsby, Theo Johnson and some of its top targets
- PHOTOS: Check out the Georgia football recruits on Day 2 of Under Armour All-American Bowl practices
- Elite RB signee Kendall Milton chooses to report earlier than expected to UGA
- WATCH: Georgia signee Arian Smith wins “Fastest Man” challenge at Under Armour
- Even before hiring Matt Luke, Chad Lindberg knew he was ‘the guy’ for Georgia football
- Sedrick Van Pran-Granger: All-American OL still feels ‘comfortable’ as a Georgia commit
- Incoming freshman Jalen Carter feels he can play a Tyler Clark-type role as a freshman
- What we learned about Georgia football recruits, targets at Under Armour All-American game media day
- Dontae Manning contrasts Georgia football and Oregon ahead of announcement
- All-American week snapshot: Which UGA signees and targets play where
- Jordan Burch: Why Georgia didn’t even crack his final 3
- 5-star RB Zach Evans shares ‘strongest connection’ and scope of decision prior to Jan. 2 announcement
- Even Mekhail Sherman was surprised when Kirby Smart, Georgia football flipped Jermaine Burton
- Broderick Jones: The 5-star OT details why he is still committed to Georgia