College Football

USC’s Caleb Williams Could Skip NFL Draft If Situation Isn’t Ideal, Stay In School

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Star USC quarterback Caleb Williams is eligible for the 2024 NFL draft, but he may elect to stay in school for another year if he doesn’t like the team in line to draft him, his father Carl Williams told GQ Magazine.

Williams had a stellar 2022 season, throwing for 4,075 yards and 37 touchdowns en route to winning the Heisman Trophy in his first year with the Trojans after transferring from Oklahoma. He is projected by many to be the first overall pick in the 2024 draft.

However, his father said the “funky thing about the NFL draft process is, he’d almost be better off not being drafted than being drafted first,” because of the NFL’s desire for parity.

Carl Williams explained that the “worst possible team, the worst organization in the league” gets the first overall pick. So the top pick can be both “the gift and the curse.” He cited examples of quarterbacks like Archie Manning, Kyler Murray, and Baker Mayfield who struggled early in their careers because they went to bad franchises with the first pick.

“So if there’s not a good situation, the truth is, he can come back to school,” the elder Williams stated. Caleb Williams has a large NIL deal at USC that will pay him handsomely to stay another year.

Caleb Williams said he’s always been able to choose what team he plays for, so “going into this next part of my career, it’s weird ’cause it’s so uncertain. You don’t know anything. You can’t control anything but you and how you act. That’s honestly the weirdest part for me, is the uncertainty.”

The Williams’ comments come at a time when top prospects are gaining more leverage in the draft process. Just last year, Jacksonville Jaguars top pick Travon Walker refused to work out for his future team prior to the draft.

Caleb Williams has a close relationship with USC head coach Lincoln Riley. Riley left Oklahoma after Williams’ freshman year to take the USC job, and Williams then transferred to USC as well.

Riley’s coaching pedigree with quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray made USC an attractive destination for Williams. Riley called Williams “as good as I’ve seen anybody coming out.”

So Williams holds the option to return to USC for another year if he doesn’t like the franchise in position to pick him. He could boost his draft stock even further and capitalize on another year of NIL earnings.

Williams has become one of the biggest stars in the new era of college athletics. He’s inked NIL deals with companies like Beats by Dre, United Airlines, Neutrogena, and Fanatics.

Los Angeles has embraced Williams, with the Dodgers inviting him to throw out the first pitch and later distributing Williams bobbleheads to fans. Former USC Heisman winner Matt Leinart said “When SC’s on top, man, the city’s buzzing.”

So while Williams is expected to move on to the NFL after winning the Heisman, his comments indicate he’ll make that decision carefully based on the team drafting first overall this year. Returning to USC remains an option if the right NFL opportunity doesn’t materialize.

Caleb Williams’ $2.6M NIL Deals in 2023

Caleb Williams Named Face of Dr Pepper’s Fansville Campaign

  • Williams follows DJ Uiagalelei and Bryce Young as star of Fansville ads
  • Commercials will play up expanded 12-team College Football Playoff coming in 2024
  • Williams’ mother Dayna Price will appear in ads painting his nails
  • Dr Pepper selling limited “FANicures By Dr Pepper” nail polish kits
  • Partnership with Caleb Cares Foundation for anti-bullying and youth empowerment

Williams’ Expansive NIL Brand

  • Won Heisman Trophy in first year at USC with 4,500+ passing yards and 42 TDs
  • Signed deals with United Airlines, PlayStation, Fanatics, Neutrogena, AT&T, Beats
  • 300,000+ social media followers, embraced fashion with Hugo Boss modeling
  • $2.6 million On3 NIL Valuation, No. 2 in college football behind Arch Manning
  • Expected to appear in Nissan’s Heisman House ads this season
  • Leveraging stardom and platform for good with Caleb Cares Foundation

So in summary, Williams has become one of the biggest NIL stars in college football, landing a premier role in Dr Pepper’s marketing campaign. The partnership will support his foundation’s community initiatives as Williams continues building his brand on and off the field.

Key Points:

  • Caleb Williams is projected to be the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft after winning the Heisman Trophy at USC.
  • However, his father Carl Williams said Caleb could return to USC for another year if he doesn’t like the team picking first overall.
  • Carl Williams said the first pick can be a “gift and a curse” if it’s a poorly run franchise, citing examples like Archie Manning.
  • Caleb Williams said the “uncertainty” of the draft process is weird for him after always choosing where he played.
  • Williams has leverage with a large NIL deal that will pay him to stay at USC. Top prospects like Travon Walker are gaining more leverage in draft process.
  • Williams has a great relationship with USC coach Lincoln Riley, who recruited him to USC from Oklahoma.
  • Los Angeles has embraced Caleb Williams as a star. But he’ll weigh his options carefully in the draft.
  • Returning to USC remains an option if the right NFL opportunity doesn’t present itself.

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