Thursday, May 30, 2024
spot_img

2024 NFL Draft: USC coach Lincoln Riley makes history as Caleb Williams goes No. 1 overall to Bears

USC v Colorado
Getty Images

USC coach Lincoln Riley made NFL Draft history on Thursday when former Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams went No. 1 overall to the Chicago Bears. Williams is now the third player to emerge from a Riley-led program and go first overall, joining former Oklahoma quarterbacks Kyler Murray (2019) and Baker Mayfield (2018). That’s the most for a college football coach in the common draft era. 

Williams began his college career under Riley at Oklahoma in 2021 — usurping starter and fellow NFL Draft hopeful Spencer Rattler during the season — before following Riley to USC for two years. Williams concluded his Heisman Trophy-winning career with 93 passing touchdowns and 14 interceptions while throwing for more than 10,000 yards. Williams also totaled 966 yards and 27 rushing touchdowns under Riley’s tutelage at Oklahoma and USC.

Former Georgia coach Wallace Butts produced three No. 1 overall picks in Frankie Sinkwich (1943), Charlie Trippi (1945) and Harry Babcock (1953) prior to the dawn of the common draft era in 1967, according to CBS Sports Research. But Riley is the first to do it since then, and his timeline for reaching the achievement is impressive.

Riley, 40, has ample time to produce even more top selections if he remains in college football. The fact that all three of his first picks are quarterbacks and have come in just a seven-year span speaks to Riley’s reputation as an offensive guru and quarterback developer.

As USC transitions to the Big Ten in 2024 on the heels of an 8-5 season, Riley faces arguably his toughest test yet. Replacing Williams is a task, and there are areas of improvement needed along the offensive line and defense to meet the expectations that came with his arrival from Oklahoma.

Related articles

Share article

Latest articles

Newsletter

Subscribe to stay updated.