Whether he intended it or not, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley created an entire media circus surrounding his team’s stand between Spencer Rattler and Caleb Williams.
The Year 5 coach refused to name the quarterback in Saturday’s game against the TCU, even after calling Williams to the bench to spur the Sooners to a win over the 21st-seeded Texans. He completed 16 of 25 passes for 212 yards and two stars — adding another 66 yards — to help the team beat the A 28-7 deficit in the first quarter and a 55-48 win in the last seconds of the game.
This was the real start to the true freshman, whose only teamwork came before Saturday when his team wasn’t counting on him to win the game.
MORE: How Caleb Williams, Sooners Changed Red River Showdown, Big 12 Race and More
Now, Williams finds himself as the starter of Riley’s offense and the coming quarterback who takes over guardianship under the quarterback coach. Being forced to replace Rattler, the current player, against his team’s biggest rival, will only add to his growing Norman legend.
However, Saturday’s game against the Longhorns wasn’t the first time Williams had been forced to play on the big stage. He actually built a name for himself in high school, which helped him become one of the best recruiters in the country and attracted the attention of countless Power 5s.
With that said, Sporting News explains everything you need to know about Williams as he takes the reins of Lincoln’s attack:
Williams was the best quarterback in his class (until he wasn’t)
Williams didn’t quite come out of the woodwork to lead Oklahoma to a win over Texas. The five-star talent was not only the Sooners’ best recruit in the 2021 class, but also the No. 1 quarterback in the 2021 class and the highest player in the offensive skill position, per 247 Sports Composite Categories. For comparison, Rattler was Oklahoma’s second-ranked in the 2019 class (behind Jadon Haselwood) and the 11th player overall.
Williams lost his place as the top quarterback in his class after Quinn Ewers decided to drop his last year of high school to sign up early at Ohio State. Ewers, who was previously the No. 1 inductee in the 2022 class, retained his rank when ranked among the 2021 prospects. This affected Williams’ ranking among 247 athletes, bringing him second in the quarterback and No. 7 overall.
MORE: Riley explains why he ceded Ratler in favor of Williams:
He skipped his last season at Gonzaga High School
Like Ewers, Williams skipped his senior year of high school—but not necessarily by choice. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has canceled the 2020 football season at Gonzaga College High School, a private school in Washington, DC. 2021 season – Williams’ last meaningful football came when he was young in 2019.
That season, he threw for 1,770 yards and 19 touchdowns, accelerating for 838 yards and another 18 points.
MORE: Riley cancels press conference amid controversy over Oklahoma QB
Won the High School State Championship over Hill Mary
In the year leading up to his junior season, Williams led Gonzaga College High School to a record 9-3 and its first Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title since the 2002 season. Williams led quarterbacks to a WCAC Championship match, where they faced rival DeMatha Catholic High School, the WCAC #1 seed , at the end of the season.
It looked as if Stags would win his fifth WCAC title in six seasons before Williams, a sophomore, scored three of the six touchdown points in the final minutes of the game. This included the quarterback’s goalkeeper to cut the score to 36-33, then another touchdown pass 29 seconds before to give his side a 40-36 lead. But his team’s ensuing kick was turned back for the touchdown, giving DeMatha the lead again at 43-40 with only 15 seconds left.
With time left for only one more play, Williams fired what was officially a 53-yard Hill Mary in the last play of the game—of 41—to give his team a 46-40 win.
So, you could say that Williams already has a lot of experience in high pressure situations.
Won Elite 11 Finals MVP Award in 2020
Williams didn’t play high school football in 2020, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t still competing. In fact, compete in the 2020 Elite 11, winning MVP in the Finals over backstops like Brock Vandagriff (Georgia), Drake Maye (North Carolina), Kyle McCord (Ohio State) and more.
With that, Williams joined the top players of previous Finals as CJ Stroud, Rattler, Justin Fields, Tua Tagovailoa and more.