Caleb Williams, Oklahoma’s star freshman quarterback and a favorite to be the NFL’s No. 1 overall draft pick in 2024, has entered the transfer portal, adding a massive pop of talent to college football’s new era of free agency.
If you thought players opting out of bowl games was causing the heads of the sport’s old guard to spin, well, welcome to the next level.
Now that players are allowed a single transfer without having to sit out a season, and with the era of name, image and likeness profiteering upon us, this is some combination of hot stove baseball and county fair auctioneer.
Complain all you want, but the reason Williams is looking at greener pastures is because the coach who recruited him and led him last season, Lincoln Riley, did it first and bolted to USC just hours after the Sooners’ regular season finale.
Sooners quarterback Caleb Williams (13) talks with head coach Lincoln Riley during the second half against the Jayhawks in October. We know that at least one of them won’t be returning to Norman for the 2022 season. (Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports)
So what has always been good for the coaches is now good for the players.
Best opportunity. Fresh start. More money. Whatever.
College football, perhaps the most American of a sporting creation, is now boldly and openly embracing a most American of concepts – freedom of movement, capitalism, naked greed. None of those should be considered insults. It’s what makes the place. And the sport.
Williams, a former five-star recruit from the Washington D.C. area, went to Oklahoma to play for Riley. The fact presumptive 2022 No. 1 draft pick Spencer Rattler was in place as the starter did nothing to deter him.
Once Rattler struggled, Williams stepped in, famously leading Oklahoma from 21 points down to beat rival Texas in early October. Williams started the next seven games, and completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 1,912 yards and 21 touchdowns (against four interceptions) on the season. He also ran for…