LSU handed it to Oklahoma in the 2019 College Football Playoff. On the Fourth of July a few months later, the Sooners returned the favor on the recruiting trail.
Last month, Caleb Williams, one of the top prospects in the Class of 2021, announced that he had whittled his recruiting to-do list down to three schools: LSU, Maryland and Oklahoma. As expected, Williams announced his verbal commitment on the holiday weekend. And, as expected, the quarterback gave that verbal to Oklahoma football. Or, the new QBU if you will.
Lincoln Riley acknowledged the commitment on Twitter.
Williams is a five-star 2021 prospect. The Washington D.C. high schooler is rated as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country — and the No. 1 quarterback overall. On the 247Sports.com composite, Williams is rated as the No. 4 recruit in the country.
Suffice to say, recruiting observers are high on Williams’ future. Very high.
“There’s nothing this kid can’t do,” former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer said last month. “I’ve been doing this a long time, he has very few limitations if any. He’s uber-competitive. Very focused when he walked in. He’s really clean, he’s consistent, clean usually means consistent.
“Every throw was good to great. I think he takes it that serious. I’m interpreting what his mind is telling him and it’s as if every throw is the most important throw of the day.
The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.
In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.
So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on June 19, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.
(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section. Mailbag, maybe?)
THE HEADLINE: Big Ten coaches on hot seat: Record revenues mean those big buyouts don’t mean quite as much
THE SYNOPSIS: Just two B1G programs will have different coaches in 2020. Chris Ash was fired by Rutgers. And Mark Dantonio “stepped down” at Michigan State.
THE HEADLINE: Lincoln Riley will (barely) make more than his starting QB in 2018
THE SYNOPSIS: The head coach made $4.8 million in guaranteed compensation. Kyler Murray, the ninth-overall pick of the 2019 MLB Draft, was paid a $4.7 million signing bonus.
THE HEADLINE: Tennessee lands eight commitments in one day
THE SYNOPSIS: The 2017-18 seasons produced a combined nine wins. Vols fans can only hope this year’s recruiting rush produces better on-field results.
THE HEADLINE: Jim Harbaugh effect helping to turn around ticket sales at Michigan
THE SYNOPSIS: In five seasons under Harbaugh, the Wolverines have finished third or fourth in The Big Ten East four times. U-M is also 0-5 vs. rival Ohio State.
THE HEADLINE: Mark Emmert once again suggests paying players would doom college sports
THE SYNOPSIS: Six years later, players are about to earn money off their own name, image and likeness. With the begrudging approval of the NCAA.
THE HEADLINE: Johnny Manziel’s angry tweet was fueled by a… parking ticket?
THE SYNOPSIS: What do we always say? Johnny Football gonna Johnny Football, y’all.
THE HEADLINE: Dr. Lou: Notre Dame should join Big Ten
THE SYNOPSIS: A decade later, many observers align with Holtz’s opinion. Except for those whose opinions matter most. Ya know, the ones who reside in South Bend.
THE HEADLINE: Jim Harbaugh Steers Around the NFL Question
THE SYNOPSIS: On Jan. 7, 2011, Harbaugh officially left Stanford for the San Francisco 49ers.
Here’s to guessing the Oklahoma head football coach is completely on board with this approach. Even as it’ll put him nearly a month behind other Power Five programs.
When word began to surface that some conferences/schools would possibly be allowing its player to return to campus June, Lincoln Riley blasted the notion.
“All the talk about these schools wanting to bring players back on June 1 is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard,” the coach said in mid-May. “We’ve got to be patient. We have one good shot at it. …
“It would be completely irresponsible to bring these guys in too early. We need to bring these guys in as late as we can. Every day they come in could be a day we could’ve gotten better, learned more about the virus, the [personal protection equipment] gets better, a day closer to a vaccine, the testing capabilities get better. It’s just not worth it.”
Two weeks later, Oklahoma has announced that it will reopen its facilities July 1 for voluntary football workouts. That’s exactly one month beyond the date to which the NCAA gave the green light last week.
According to the program, returning Oklahoma football players will need to be evaluated and cleared by the OU medical staff before they can participate in the voluntary activities. OU added that the players “will be continuously monitored and will be expected to adhere to a number of safety protocols and guidelines.”
“As I have stated before, we are going to approach this return with extreme care,” Riley said in a statement. “We have received tremendous guidance from highly respected medical professionals, and we will follow their recommendations. We understand that the well-being of our student-athletes is at the top of our responsibilities. That’s why we will be diligent in how we manage everything from the way we relate to each other to the cleaning of our facilities and beyond.
“Our medical personnel have told us that the safest thing we can do is keep our players off campus for as long as possible. We chose the latest point that we could bring them back and still have enough time to prepare.”
The SEC confirmed its players would be returning June 8. Both Ohio State and Illinois from the Big Ten will be doing the same on the same date. Ditto for Clemson and Louisville as well.