McElroy: 'I'd bet' Caleb Williams returns to Oklahoma for 2022 season

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Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams, a former five-star recruit who starred for the program as a true freshman this season, announced on Monday that he's entering the transfer portal. In a statement, released via Twitter, Williams also mentioned that remaining with the Sooners is an option.

Williams' decision sent shockwaves across the college football landscape, as it comes on the heels of his former coach, Lincoln Riley, leaving Oklahoma to rebuild USC. But will the 20-year-old play elsewhere in 2022? Former college quarterback and current ESPN analyst Greg McElroy isn't convinced.

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"I think he's going back. As crazy as it may sound, this is probably a financial play," McElroy told The Zach Gelb Show on Monday. "Right now, I know there are several schools that've been in touch with Williams for a while. Several of which have very deep pockets, when it comes to NIL, and big platforms to be able to maximize his value in NIL... He was the backup just five months ago. And the starter, Spencer Rattler, made a whole bunch of money.

"Caleb didn't get very much. He actually got very little. Now this is his chance to potentially get a good bite at the apple, and I think it's a really smart move, financially. If you can make $1 million, and create some leverage for yourself by making sure there's others interested in your services, I can't say I blame anybody... We'll see, it'll be interesting. But if I had to bet, I'd bet Oklahoma."

Williams, who's already drawing serious Heisman Trophy odds for next year, replaced Rattler as Oklahoma's starter this season. In 11 games played, the D.C. native threw for 1,912 yards with 21 touchdowns and four interceptions. Last month, Rattler entered the transfer portal and joined South Carolina.

Following Williams' announcement, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione and new coach Brent Venables released a joint statement, which read in part: "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 staffing changes here." Last week, Williams helped lead the 16th-ranked Sooners to an Alamo Bowl win over Oregon.

The entire college football conversation between McElroy and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow The Zach Gelb Show on Twitter @ZachGelb and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.