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Take Two: How close to top of 2021 QB class is Caleb Williams?

Caleb Williams
Caleb Williams (Brandon Brown)

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell and an expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites or a regional analyst.

MORE TAKE TWO: Where will four-star QB Haynes King land? | Should OU fans be worried about Jase McClellan?

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals100 | Position | Team | State


THE STORYLINE 

One of the most valuable aspects of events like the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas is that analysts can compare and contrast what they like about certain prospects with others, and even some recruits who aren’t even at the event but were seen elsewhere throughout the offseason.

That was especially the case when it came to 2021 quarterbacks, as No. 1 overall Brock Vandagriff (an Oklahoma commit), threw alongside Ohio State pledge Kyle McCord, Michigan pledge J.J. McCarthy and others in Atlanta a few weeks back.

One top prospect that didn’t attend the Five-Star Challenge was Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga quarterback Caleb Williams, who is ranked No. 15 nationally in the 2021 class, so he's clearly in the five-star discussion and someone who could move up even more if he continues to perform well.

Georgia and LSU have jumped out as early favorites for Williams, but Penn State and others are there as well.

There are four quarterbacks ahead of him in the 2021 rankings: Vandagriff, McCord, McCarthy and Sam Huard, a Washington pledge. Williams is the top-rated uncommitted quarterback in the class.

Is Williams SEC-bound? And after seeing many of the other quarterbacks through this offseason, does he belong in the conversation as maybe one of the top couple of players at his position in the 2021 rankings?

FIRST TAKE: ADAM FRIEDMAN, MID-ATLANTIC ANALYST  

“He definitely has five-star potential. He has a lot of natural mobility, but I wouldn’t classify him as a dual-threat quarterback because he doesn’t look to run first. They have some running plays for him because he’s mobile and he’s a well-built prospect. He has an incredibly strong arm and good size, but the biggest thing about him is that everything comes so naturally.

“Williams isn’t in a rush to make a commitment, but Georgia and LSU are the clear top two programs for him, and Penn State is very much in the mix. Oklahoma was probably going to be the school for him before Vandagriff beat him to the punch, and I wouldn’t rule out a quick trip back to Norman just to check in and say hello.

"Visits to LSU and Georgia will definitely happen. If LSU has a fast start to the season with this new offense the Tigers are going to be a much-bigger threat than they are right now. I put in a FutureCast for him to LSU after his visit because they knocked it out of the park, but he wants to see the proof on the field. Williams is definitely in the conversation with Vandagriff and maybe some others as the best quarterback in the 2021 class.”


SECOND TAKE: MIKE FARRELL, NATIONAL RECRUITING DIRECTOR  

“Now that I’ve seen McCarthy, I like Williams more than McCarthy. He’s bigger, he’s more filled-out, he’s more athletic and he has a bigger arm. Vandagriff is still my No. 1 guy, and McCord is still my No. 2 guy, but I would put Williams with McCarthy, with Huard. He’s in that 3 to 5 range at pro-style quarterback.

“Penn State would be the school that needs him the most because he’s a regional recruit and they recruit D.C. and Maryland very well. I could see him going to Georgia, but I also could see him going to LSU, because it’s the SEC.”