USC quarterback Caleb Williams won the 2022 Heisman trophy in New York today. Williams became the first Trojan to win the Heisman since running back Reggie Bush in 2005 and the third USC quarterback to hoist the coveted trophy.
Williams received 2,031 total points, followed by Max Duggan of TCU (1,420 points), C.J. Stroud of Ohio State (539 points), and Stetson Bennett of the University of Georgia (349 points). Marva Smalls, Heisman Trustee, and 1966 Heisman winner Steve Spurrier announced the selection of Williams.
“This is awesome to be up here.” Williams thanked the Heisman winners who were standing on the stage behind him.
“To the men standing behind me. Thank you for your passion for the game.” Williams said kids like him have dreams and goals of being on the Heisman stage, and that dream “starts with watching you all, so thank you.”
Williams, a transfer student from the University of Oklahoma, is credited with bringing USC back to national prominence. His numbers tell the story. Williams completed 66% of his passes for 4,075 yards and 37 touchdowns. He ran the ball 109 times for 372 yards and ten touchdowns. Along with winning the Heisman, Williams was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year. He set the school record for total offensive yards – 4,447.
The win was bittersweet as he acknowledged that his honored competitors were getting ready to compete for a different award, playing for a spot in the national collegiate championship game.
“And I may be standing up here today, but you all get to go to College Football Playoffs. Guess you can’t win them all.”
A humble and gracious young man, Williams thanked many who helped him reach this pinnacle in his career. He thanked his mom, “the most important woman in his life,” Dayna Price. Caleb has credited his love of painting his nails to his mom, a nail artist, “doing nails since I could remember,” he said.
“Thank you for always being my mom first. The woman behind the scenes who has a smile on her face and is willing to help others.”
Williams thanked his dad – Carl Williams, “the old man,” for showing him the way.
“You’re always there for me, making sacrifices in your life so I can achieve my dreams, which eventually became our dreams. It may seem to go unnoticed and unappreciated, but you mean the world to me. We’re in this together, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
He gave a special shoutout to his fellow Trojan Heisman winners who were present at the ceremony; Matt Leinart (2004), Carson Palmer (2002), and Mike Garrett (1965) thanking each for their support.
“While this may be an individual award, I certainly understand that nothing — and absolutely nothing — in this sport, nor life, is done alone.”
And Williams put action behind that sentiment, bringing eight of his fellow USC offensive lineman to New York, a sure sign that NIL money and partners can make many things possible.
“I’d like to thank all my USC brothers. I know we didn’t finish the way we wanted to, but the cultural bond that we formed will last forever. To the group that’s here today, the offensive linemen. Stand up, big guys, wherever you are. We’re all here to celebrate our accomplishments. This doesn’t happen without each one of you — Bobby [Haskins], Courtland [Ford], [Andrew] Vorhees, Gino [Quinones], Brett [Neilon], Dedi [Justin Dedich], Jonah [Monheim], Mason [Murphy]. Thank you. Thank you.”
Williams thanked USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn, his wife, his coach Lincoln Riley, whom he affectionately called “Big Dog,” and his family.
“Big dog, Coach [Lincoln] Riley. We committed to each other on two separate occasions but with the same dream. They say you either change your dreams or change your habits, and I damn sure wasn’t going to change my dreams. I’m glad you didn’t change yours, either. But we both know the job’s not done.”
Williams is the first football player from the DMV – local parlance for the DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas to win the Heisman. Williams attended Gonzaga College High School in Washington and remembered the impact of Coach Randy Trivers.
“Coach, you may not know this. But the Gonzaga motto that you drilled into us. “men for others,” has helped inspire me to create the Caleb Cares foundation, which is all about giving back. So, thank you, coach. Thank you, Gonzaga.”
Williams spoke of his love of football from the age of 10, realizing that he loved everything about the sport and how a few years after that discovery, losing a championship game that he did not get to play in because he was too small.
“That night, a fire ignited in me. That night I decided to play quarterback. And not only be playing quarterback but to be the best quarterback.”
And his message to youngsters who harbor a dream of playing ball, Williams encouraged them to keep believing and pursuing their goals.