Will Caleb Williams lead USC to glory in 2022?

Founded back in 1888, the USC Trojans have been quite successful throughout their history in the NCAAF.

The team has over 830 wins and has claimed 11 National Championships with the last one coming in 2004. Based on college football odds, the USC Trojans’ chances of winning the trophy this year are quite better compared to recent years. 

Led by the legendary Seattle Seahawks coach, Pete Carroll, the Trojans enjoyed some incredible feats at the beginning of the 21st century. During his first eight years as a head coach, the team lost just once by more than seven points which is an unparalleled achievement. 

The University of Southern California has produced 510 NFL draft picks ranking them 1st in that category among other universities. The list includes the likes of Junior Seau, Bruce Matthews, and Markus Allen who have all graced the field for nearly two decades throughout their careers.

Southern California head coach Lincoln Riley talks with his quarterbacks during an NCAA college football practice Thursday, March 24, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Lincoln Riley – The new hope on the horizon

The Trojans have recently been struggling a lot to figure out the right way to proceed with building their roster. They have selected 30 head coaches over a five-year span which is surely a concerning sign for their fans.

However, the Trojans might have finally picked the golden apple in the face of Lincoln Riley who led the Oklahoma Sooners to three consecutive playoff appearances between 2017 and 2019. 

Riley has successfully mentored five first-round NFL picks as well as nearly 25 other players who made it to the big league. He has certainly gathered plenty of experience throughout his coaching years and even though he is just 39 years old, Riley is one of the most valuable assets in the Southern Californians team.

Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams passes during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona State Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Caleb Williams – The sky is the limit

The ambitious coach paved the path for two Heisman Trophy winners as he mentored Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield. He is now on the verge of developing yet another star in the face of the Trojans’ sophomore quarterback, Caleb Williams. In 2021, when playing for the Sooners, Williams ended up with 21 passing touchdowns, six rushing touchdowns, and four interceptions. 

He also threw for 1,912 yards on a 64.5% completion rate gathering 169.6 pass efficiency. 

The creative quarterback has shown his versatile skills throughout the year as he came up short just twice when his team tripped over Baylor and Oklahoma State. Williams, however, was selected among the 2021 Second-team All-Big 12. 

Now, being once again reunited with Lincoln Riley can easily help him unleash his potential as a Trojan. So far in 2022, his performance on the field has been nothing short of spectacular which booked him a spot right behind CJ Stroud for the Heisman Trophy.

Williams relies much on his on-field awareness which has been remarkable ever since his days with Gonzaga College High School. Caleb Williams’ maturity seems to be the main factor that puts him ahead of the competition. His physical attributes of 6’1’’ and 215 lbs. further help him build that strong character on the football pitch. 

Southern California defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu (49) sacks Utah quarterback Jake Bentley (8) in the second half during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Additional help from the roster

The USC Trojans would rely mainly on their defense throughout the current campaign. Having the likes of Tuli Tuipulotu, Nick Figueroa, Andrew Vorhees, and Courtland Ford certainly gives them a slight advantage over their opponents. They represent the core defensive strength of the Trojans who are looking desperate to make a playoff run this year. 

Offensively, the team is also promising as they can fully use Caleb Williams’ potential to their favor. Jordan Addison is an incredible wide receiver who has shown his impressive speed and agility in 2021 winning the Fred Biletnikoff Award for the season. The 20-year-old player from Maryland caught 100 passes for 1,593 yards, thus earning consensus All-American honors.

Williams can also rely on Brett Neilon who is in his fourth year with the Trojans. The strong center has been playing well protecting his quarterback in their first couple of games together this season.  

Moreover, Mario Williams reunites with Caleb as they were a fantastic duo last season with the Oklahoma Sooners. In 2021, the 4-star prospect caught 35 passes for 280 yards, and it seems that his lateral quickness is even better this year. Even though he is a considerably small football player, he makes great use of his agility and natural sturdiness.  


Mixture of talents

The Trojans have built a tough and experienced squad which gives them the chance to make things right for the first time since 2004. The team has gone through some tough periods throughout the last decade including going 5-7 in 2018 which marked their first losing record (5-7) since 2000. 

Lincoln Riley seems to be a solid head coach for USC as he is yet to lose a game with the team. In 2018, the 39-year-old was named Big 12 Coach of the Year which can be considered his second-best recognition after winning the Broyles Award in 2015 as an assistant coach for the Oklahoma Sooners.