USC QB Williams selected 1st overall in NFL Draft

Williams becomes the sixth Trojan to go number one overall in the draft, the most of any school.

DETROIT — What had long been assumed is now official: USC‘s Caleb Williams was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

When the Chicago Bears called Williams’s name Thursday night, he became the sixth Trojan to be picked first overall in the draft, breaking a tie with Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Georgia for the most of any school. Prior to Williams, USC’s most recent No. 1 overall selection was quarterback Carson Palmer, who the Cincinnati Bengals took in 2003.

Williams also becomes the third No. 1 overall pick coached by USC head coach Lincoln Riley in the past seven years. After starting his career at Oklahoma under Riley, Williams followed his head coach to USC ahead of the 2022 season. In his two seasons with the Trojans, he put up record-breaking numbers, racking up more than 8,000 yards and scoring 93 total touchdowns..

As a sophomore in 2022, Williams won the Heisman Trophy, becoming the eighth Trojan to win the award. During his Heisman Trophy season, the star quarterback threw for 4,537 yards and 42 touchdowns, while also rushing for 382 yards and 10 scores.

Now, Williams heads to Chicago where he will look to resurrect a Bears franchise that has been searching for a franchise quarterback for decades. Most recently, the team spent first-round picks on Mitch Trubisky in 2017 and Justin Fields in 2021, neither of whom panned out.

If Williams can reverse the Bears’ poor quarterback fortunes, he will be beloved in Chicago forever.

“This is the moment I’ve dreamt of since I was 10 years old,” Williams told Bears team reporter Gabby Hajduk following his selection. “Twelve years ago, I made the decision that football was going to be the thing I do for the rest of my life. Now, I’m the 2024 No. 1 pick.”

Fortunately for Williams, the Bears got him some big-time help with their other first round pick, selecting Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze at No. 9 overall. Odunze led the country in receiving yards this past season, catching 92 passes for 1,640 yards and 13 touchdowns during the Huskies’ run to the national championship game. If early reports are any indication, Williams and Odunze are already getting along quite well.

“To be to have Rome Odunze at number nine, it’s pretty sick, right?” Williams said in his post-draft press conference. “Really happy, really excited, ready to get going.”

Williams and Odunze will open their Bears tenures with the team’s annual rookie minicamp in early May.