The Sports Report: Finally, Caleb Williams has committed to USC

Caleb Williams with Oklahoma last season.
(Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press)

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Ryan Kartje on the Trojans: The most coveted quarterback in college football is following his former coach to USC in a major transfer move that’s bound to shift the balance of power out west.


Caleb Williams, a former top recruit and the undisputed top passer in the college transfer market, made it official via video posted on his Twitter account Tuesday that he has left Oklahoma to join Lincoln Riley in Los Angeles, giving the Trojans new coach a familiar star quarterback to build around as he ushers in a new era at USC.

The decision reunites Williams, the No. 7 overall prospect and No. 2 quarterback in the 2021 class, with the coach who first convinced him to join the Sooners. Under Riley’s tutelage, Williams thrived as a freshman at Oklahoma, supplanting entrenched starter Spencer Rattler by midseason and immediately establishing himself as a future star. But since Riley left suddenly to take over at USC in late November, speculation over whether his star quarterback might follow continued to swirl, even as Williams stuck around through December, leading the Sooners to an Alamo Bowl win.

That speculation spiked when Williams entered the transfer portal in early January, referencing “sudden changes this season [that] sent shockwaves through Sooner nation.” Sensing the significance of his possible exit, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione and new coach Brent Venables even issued an unusual public plea on social media for Williams to stay in Oklahoma.

The weeks-long delay that followed that announcement would only stir the college football world into further frenzy. Blurry photos circulated of what appeared to be Williams in a USC jersey. Amateur sleuths combed through student directories. Rumors of other possible destinations swirled.

But the allure of continuing his career under Riley, who coached three current starting NFL quarterbacks, proved too strong for Williams, whose father, Carl, told Yahoo Sports that “professional development” would be the most important factor in his son’s decision.


Five things to know about QB Caleb Williams


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Broderick Turner on the Lakers: LeBron James is still dealing with swelling in his left knee that has left the Lakers forward listed as “doubtful” for Wednesday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Arena, coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday.

James missed the last three games of the Lakers’ six-game trip after undergoing an MRI that revealed swelling in the knee following the game in Brooklyn. He returned home to Los Angeles on Saturday to start treatment.

“Still working on trying to get that swelling down,” Vogel said during practice at the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo. “He’s listed as doubtful for tomorrow. He’s not here today. Got treatment outside of our facility.”

Vogel said the goal is to be cautious with James and not rush him back if his knee is not ready.


Ben Bolch on the Bruins: If all goes well, UCLA will head into its highly anticipated rematch with Arizona ready to make a double reintroduction.


Here’s Johnny and Jaime!

Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez Jr., the Bruins’ top two scorers, could return for the biggest game left on the regular-season schedule Thursday in Tucson, depending on how things go the next few days.

Coach Mick Cronin said Juzang was scheduled to be tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday, five days after the junior guard initially tested positive for the virus. If Juzang’s latest test is negative, Cronin said, he could return to practice Wednesday to prepare for the showdown between third-ranked UCLA (16-2 overall, 8-1 Pac-12) and seventh-ranked Arizona (17-2, 7-1).

Juzang last played during UCLA’s 75-59 victory over the Wildcats on Jan. 25, scoring 15 points on six-of-18 shooting, before missing the Bruins’ victories over California and Stanford while stuck in isolation.

Jaquez hasn’t played since departing the Bruins’ victory over Stanford in the first half Saturday after reaggravating the injury to his right ankle that he had hurt earlier in the season.

The only certainty the Bruins have about their injury situation is that sophomore guard Jaylen Clark will not play against Arizona. It will be the fourth consecutive game Clark has missed while stuck in concussion protocol for the second time since the preseason. Clark is also doubtful for UCLA’s game against Arizona State on Saturday.


Kevin Baxter on soccer: Sebastian Lletget scored his first goal for the U.S. in a World Cup qualifier against Honduras. He scored his last goal for the U.S. in a World Cup qualifier against Honduras.


On Wednesday, the U.S. will play another World Cup qualifier against Honduras. So, Sebastian, any predictions?

“I hadn’t put all that together,” Lletget said Tuesday afternoon, before the team’s final training session at a frigid Allianz Field. “I haven’t thought that far ahead.”

But, he conceded, another goal would certainly be a good omen: In the seven international games in which Lletget has scored, the U.S. has won six of them. And after Sunday’s punchless 2-0 loss in Canada, the Americans desperately need a victory to get their CONCACAF qualifying campaign back on track.

“We just want to get this win,” the former Galaxy midfielder said. “Canada wasn’t ideal, but we’re still in a good position. As long as we get the job done tomorrow, we’re back in an even better position.”

The U.S. (5-2-3) enters Wednesday second in the eight-team qualifying tournament, four points behind first-place Canada and leading third-place Mexico on goal differential. The top three finishers earn invitations to this fall’s World Cup in Qatar, and with Panama lurking just a point behind in fourth, the U.S. has little margin for error with four games left.


1876 — The National League forms, consisting of teams in Philadelphia, Hartford, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis and New York.


1936 — Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson are the first members elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1954 — Bevo Francis of Rio Grande College scores 113 points in a 134-91 victory over Hillsdale. Francis, breaking his own record for small colleges (84) set two weeks earlier against Alliance College.

1962 — Using a fiberglass pole, John Uelses becomes the first man to vault more than 16 feet, indoors or out. Uelses, a Marine Corps corporal, clears 16¼ during the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York.

1977 — Toronto’s Ian Turnbull scores five goals to set an NHL record for defensemen, leading the Maple Leafs past the Detroit Red Wings 9-1.

1991 — New Hampshire’s basketball team ends its 32-game losing streak at home with a 72-56 win over Holy Cross. The NCAA-record streak started on Feb. 9, 1988.

1994 — Lenny Wilkens gets his 900th NBA victory, and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Orlando Magic 118-99. Wilkens runs his regular-season mark to 900-760, trailing only Red Auerbach’s 938 in NBA regular-season victories.


1999 — Austria’s Hermann Maier and Norway’s Lasse Kjus ski to an unprecedented tie in the super-G to mark the start of the world championships.

2001 — Stacy Dragila breaks her world indoor pole vault record by a half-inch with a 15-2 1/4 vault at the Millrose Games.

2003 — Atlanta Thrashers star Dany Heatley joins Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux by scoring a record-tying four goals in the NHL All-Star Game. His Eastern Conference team loses the first All-Star shootout 6-5.

2009 — Kobe Bryant breaks the current Madison Square Garden record with 61 points to lead the Lakers to a 126-117 victory over New York. Bryant, who hits all 20 of his free throws, tops the previous visitor record of 55 points held by Michael Jordan and the overall record of 60 by Bernard King.

2012 — Sam Gagner has four goals and four assists in the NHL’s first eight-point game in 23 years, and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 8-4.

2013 — California Institute of Technology’s baseball team ends a 228-game losing streak with a 9-7 victory against Pacifica, the Beavers’ first win in nearly 10 years. Caltech hadn’t won since Feb. 15, 2003, 5-4 against Cal State Monterey Bay.


2014 — The Seattle Seahawks win their first Super Bowl title, crushing the favored Denver Broncos 43-8. The Seahawks led 36-0 before Denver finally scored on the last play of the third quarter.

2017 — Patrick Marleau scores his 500th goal, Chris Tierney tallies twice and San Jose beat Vancouver 4-1. Marleau becomes the 45th NHL player to reach 500 goals, scoring in the first period on a power play.

Supplied by the Associated Press

And finally

Kobe Bryant scores 61 points in Madison Square Garden. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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