Freshman Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams is entering the NCAA Transfer Portal, he announced via Twitter on Monday.
Williams, a former five-star prospect from Washington, D.C., took over the Sooners' starting job at midseason, replacing preseason Heisman Trophy favorite Spencer Rattler, who has since transferred to South Carolina. Williams threw for 1,912 yards and 21 touchdowns this season while rushing for 442 yards and six ground scores.
Since the departure of coach Lincoln Riley for Southern California on Nov. 28, Williams hadn't provided a firm commitment regarding his future with the Sooners before Monday's announcement. Williams was also limited to just two media appearances this season — one on a podcast with two teammates, the other after the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 — due to Riley's long standing policy barring freshmen from interviews.
Williams was asked about his future with the program during the Alamo Bowl postgame press conference and deferred, saying he wanted to spend some time mulling his decision while on vacation with his family.
"I came to Oklahoma with a game plan, but with all of the recent changes, I need to figure out what is the right path for me moving forward," Williams wrote on Monday.
"According to NCAA rules, as a student-athlete, the only way I can speak with other schools who may offer the best preparation and development for my future career is by entering the portal. Staying at OU will definitely be an option as I begin this process."
Former OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables returned to Norman on Dec. 5 to become the Sooners' next head coach, and since, he and new offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby had seemingly been working hard to keep Williams in the fold. Venables said on Dec. 17 he'd be surprised if Williams left, and Lebby was spotted with the star quarterback at a local restaurant later that evening.
In response to Williams' announcement, Venables and athletic director Joe Castiglione released a statement of their own on Monday.
Statement from Joe Castiglione and Brent Venables on today’s announcement by Caleb Williams: pic.twitter.com/qGHlDqIDp2— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) January 3, 2022
"Caleb Williams enjoyed an exciting and impactful first season at the University of Oklahoma and we will continue to be engaged with him and his family on a comprehensive plan for his development as a student and quarterback, including a path to graduation and strategic leveraging of NIL opportunities.
"While we believe OU provides Caleb the best opportunity to develop as a player and realize his goals for college and beyond, we respect his right to explore his options following key staff changes here."
Before becoming a fan favorite with the Sooners, Williams was highly coveted as the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the 2020 recruiting class. He chose the opportunity to play under an offensive guru in Riley over offers from Maryland, Clemson, Penn State and LSU.