USC’s Caleb Williams drawing comparisons to current NFL star

The 2023 NFL Draft is expected to be littered with talent at the quarterback position, especially at the top.

Ohio State‘s C.J. Stroud is listed as the favorite to take home the Heisman Trophy this season, and is expected by many to be top selection in the upcoming draft. Right behind him is the reigning Heisman winner, Bryce Young, who is also among the top contenders to take home college football’s most prestigious individual award.

But what if the best quarterback in college football this season won’t even be a part of this upcoming draft?

That is Jordan Palmer’s take when it comes to USC QB Caleb Williams, who is putting up jaw-dropping numbers through the first six weeks of the campaign, all while leading the Trojans to their first 6-0 start since 2006. 

Palmer, who is a former NFL quarterback turned QB consultant, already has sky-high expectations for the Trojans’ young signal-caller. In an appearance on “The Herd” Thursday, Palmer told Colin Cowherd that Williams reminds him of one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL right now. 

“He’s off the charts. He’s the next [Patrick] Mahomes,” Palmer said of Williams. “There’s a chance that at the end of this year, this college football season, that we have a couple of quarterbacks – Will Levis, C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young – selected at the top of this draft, maybe No. 1, 2 and 3. 

“There’s also a pretty good chance that we have that happen and the general consensus is that the best young player is not in this draft.”

Jordan Palmer has high praise for USC QB Caleb Williams

Jordan Palmer joins Colin Cowherd on “The Herd” to discuss USC QB Caleb Williams.

Through six weeks, the sophomore QB has completed 64.9% of his passes for 1,590 yards with 14 touchdowns and just one interception, leading the Trojans to a 6-0 record and the No. 7 overall ranking in the country. He’s also added 178 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. 

Williams’ hot start in SoCal shouldn’t be too much of a surprise considering what he did as a freshman at Oklahoma last season. Appearing in 11 games with the Sooners, Williams threw for 1,670 yards with 21 touchdowns and four interceptions, taking over the starting job after he led them to a comeback victory over the Texas Longhorns in the Red River Showdown. 

Palmer remains uncertain if Williams will get the full respect he deserves this season because he plays in the Pac-12. However, if USC is able to finish the season unbeaten, he is confident Williams would rise to the occasion against great competition in the College Football Playoff. 

Palmer went on to explain why Williams reminds him of the Chiefs superstar quarterback.

“In a time that we have a lot of bright young stars, it’s not just physical ability, it’s the maturity,” Palmer said. “If you look at Mahomes, he didn’t deal with being a franchise quarterback until his second year in the league. This kid was the MVP of the Elite 11. He was the No. 1 recruit in the country. 

“He came off the bench in a historic Red River Showdown game last year as a true freshman, unseating Spencer Rattler, who everyone had as the No. 1 pick in mock drafts and as a Heisman favorite. He took him out, and then he goes to ‘SC.”

Caleb Williams on USC’s football resurgence and expectations for the Trojans this season

Matt Leinart sits down with Caleb Williams to discuss his adjustment to Southern California life, his hope of bringing USC football back to the glory days, and his unique way of expressing himself on the field.

While this USC team hasn’t faced many top-notch opponents up to this point in the season, the Trojans will get their first major test on Saturday night when they travel to No. 20 Utah to face the defending conference champion Utes (8 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App).

Palmer is confident that Williams’ decision to transfer to USC, combined with his ability to handle the massive expectations that have been set for him at such a young age, will help set him up for success now and throughout his football career.

“He’s been through and experienced what a lot of what NFL franchise quarterbacks have experienced, and he’s experienced it at such a young age,” Palmer said. “He’s also undefeated at it, at handling that. With him and the guidance and the leadership of Lincoln Riley, plus the brand that is ‘SC and the brand that ’SC is about to come again, this guy is poised to have a lot of success, whatever comes his way.”

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