Sophomore quarterback Caleb Williams arrived at USC earlier this year with the hope to make it into a winning program. Since then, he not only guided the Trojans into national prominence but made himself a front-runner for the 2022 Heisman Trophy.
“I started to learn about the Heisman probably around 10 or 11, 12 years old and it’s been a goal of mine,” Williams said. “I think I’m the best and that’s one of the trophies that kind of represents that.”
Trojans linebacker Shane Lee noted how Williams’ confidence in his own ability plays a major part in his leadership style and how he gives “all he can to everybody.”
“When [Williams] steps on the field, he knows what he can do,” Lee said. “He makes plays that you don’t see every day and he encourages guys in a way that you don’t see every day as well.”
Williams completed over 70 percent of his passes in five games this season. Against Rice, Williams made a season-high of 86.4 percent in pass completions. He currently has 3712 passing yards for 34 touchdowns. During their 41-28 victory over Stanford, Williams made a season-high 75-yard pass.
The Washington D.C. native also racked up 351 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns with the Trojans. His longest rush was a 55-yard scramble in their 42-43 loss to Utah. Trojans football head coach Lincoln Riley noted that Williams can be athletic and have passing accuracy.
“He played in a major university under a lot of scrutiny, played some big games and big moments,” Riley said. “He’s a guy that can get in any scenario, any room, feel comfortable, get along with people, be very present, has a great way with people.”
During the spring and summer, he and his teammates worked hard, resulting in an 11-1 overall record and an 8-1 Pac-12 record with a chance at being in the College Football Playoffs.
Outside of academics and athletics, Williams empowers youth through his foundation: Caleb Cares. Earlier this year, Williams invited students from Audubon Middle School to the USC campus to talk about his experiences with bullying. The event was created in collaboration with LAUSD and USC Athletics.
“As a kid, you get bullied and that can change your life if you don’t have people around you,” Williams said. “It can impact you very deeply in the future.”
Williams also collaborated with the Seize the Awkward Campaign and was featured in a PSA video about the importance of talking about mental health.