Q&A with Gonzaga 5-star QB Caleb Williams about why he picked the schools in his final 5

Caleb Williams, the 5-star quarterback out of Gonzaga College High School, dropped his final five of college options last Monday: Maryland, Penn State, Clemson, LSU and Oklahoma.

According to Caleb’s father, Carl Williams, they plan to make a final decision about which program he’ll attend before the new school year starts. They want Caleb to be able to enjoy his senior season and focus on recruiting other student athletes to come with him wherever he chooses to go.

I had a conversation with Caleb to find out what stood out to him about each of these programs and why they made the cut.

When I think of Penn State, I think, “We Are.” Happy Valley has an amazing football community steeped in tradition. Why are you potentially interested in playing for Coach [James] Franklin?

Other than the 110K fans they have each week — I’ve known Coach Franklin since freshman year, and I’ve known a few of the other coaches on staff since before then, so it’s all about relationship building.

Beyond that, their fans are great. I went to the Blue/White game, and they were just as loud as if it were a real game and they were playing Michigan or Ohio State.

In considering the [Clemson] Tigers, not only do they offer the “ALL IN” championship culture, but also the potential of playing for a coach like Dabo Swinney, who dances and goes out of his way to connect with student athletes. What attracts you to Clemson?

Like you said, Coach Dabo… he’s a mature kid. He’s awesome [laughs]. He’s awesome and he’s really genuine. He’s a Christian man, and you can’t really beat that.

He doesn’t consider what he’s doing “work.” He loves going in and doing what he’s supposed to do in life. 

LSU is the defending National Champion — so they have that in their favor — and Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow starred at quarterback with the Tigers. Last season’s offensive coordinator Joe Brady has left for the NFL, though. Why are you still considering LSU?

Coach O [Ed Orgeron]. He kind of makes you want to run through a brick wall at times. On game day, when you have that juice running through you, there’s not much anybody else can do to you. When you have love for the game [individually] and are willing to run through a brick wall, you should be unstoppable. 

And their fans… if you haven’t been to an LSU game, you need to go. They say some things I can’t say on social media, but it’s an awesome experience. You’ll laugh and have a great time.

What coach [Lincoln] Riley has been able to do with quarterbacks at Oklahoma is unheard of. Every year they have a Heisman candidate at QB putting up huge numbers. How do you see yourself fitting into that Boomer Sooner system?

If you look at the last four years or so, I believe I can do just about anything Kyler [Murray], Baker [Mayfield] or [Jalen] Hurts have done either physically or mentally. And if you look at the history of Oklahoma football — they’ve produced hall of famers both at the NFL and college level. Also, with Coach Riley being who he is; an awesome family man and awesome coach, you can’t really beat that.

The University of Maryland makes your top five, and the DMV community is going nuts over that. Coach [Mike] Locksley is building something special. [Wide receiver] Rakim Jarret is attempting to lead the next “Stay Home Movement.” If you choose the Terps, it’ll blow the roof off this thing.

I’ve known coach Locksley and coach Scottie Montgomery for years now. I’ve known coach Scottie since he was at Duke with coach [David] Cutcliffe, Peyton Manning’s coach, and I’ve known coach Locksley since he was at Alabama when they were recruiting me.

Over time, they’ve continued to recruit me and now that coach Locksley is back home, Maryland is on the list.

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Q&A with Gonzaga 5-star QB Caleb Williams about why he picked the schools in his final 5 originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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