USC has the best quarterback future in college football, says ESPN
USC landed Lincoln Riley as its head coach and then Caleb Williams as its quarterback and suddenly the future looked unbelievably bright.
Riley, after all, is viewed as the college quarterback whisperer, and his first season in Los Angeles only further reinforced that pedigree. Williams won a Heisman Trophy, giving Riley his third winner and fourth finalist for the award in six seasons as a head coach.
Williams is back in 2023 to command the USC offense. Five-star 2023 signee Malachi Nelson joins him in the quarterback room. No one in college football has a brighter future at the most important position than the Trojans.
And that made ESPN’s annual ranking of quarterback futures (defined as through the next three seasons) throughout the country largely academic at the top.
USC was an unsurprising No. 1 in Adam Rittenberg’s ranking. Here’s what he wrote on the Trojans:
Coach Lincoln Riley needed just one season at USC to again show he’s the sport’s premier developer of quarterbacks. Williams, who moved with Riley from Oklahoma to USC, became the third Riley-coached quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy (joining Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray). He led the nation with 42 touchdown passes and ranked third in passing yards with 4,537, while completing two-thirds of his attempts. Williams will spend one more season with the Trojans before likely becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft. But USC is well stocked behind him, especially after signing Malachi Nelson, ESPN’s No. 1 overall recruit in the 2023 class.
Nelson could compete with Miller Moss, who returns for his second year in Riley’s offense and third overall at USC. Moss was ESPN’s No. 39 overall recruit in the 2021 class. If he stays for 2024, he will have the experience edge over Nelson. But both are good options in the post-Williams era. The Big Ten will represent an adjustment for USC, but Riley’s long-term success with quarterbacks puts the Trojans on top.