To the surprise of absolutely no one, USC head coach Lincoln Riley announced Monday that star quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams will not play against Louisville in the Holiday Bowl later this month.
Williams, who tossed for 3,633 yards and 30 touchdowns during USC’s 7-5 regular season, Is widely projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
With Williams on the sidelines, USC will likely turn to redshirt sophomore backup Miller Moss in the Holiday Bowl. In three seasons at USC, Moss has thrown for 542 yards and three touchdowns in limited appearances. This season, Moss is 23-of-32 for 301 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
The Trojans also freshman and former five-star recruit Malachi Nelson on their roster, but Nelson has not seen the field this season while dealing with what Riley has described as “physical hurdles.”
While Williams is the first player on either side to opt out of the game, my hunch is he will not be the last.