As the USC Trojans head into the Holiday Bowl without star quarterback Caleb Williams, the absence of such a key player in the postseason contest has undoubtedly raised curiosity and shifted the focus onto the team’s quarterback situation.
Caleb Williams made the decision to opt out of the Holiday Bowl, a move that’s largely anticipated to be in preparation for his entry into the 2024 NFL Draft. Williams is considered one of the top prospects in college football and is expected to be a highly sought-after player in the NFL Draft. Throughout the season, Williams showcased exceptional talent, amassing 3,633 passing yards and 30 touchdowns, despite facing challenges with the team’s supporting cast and defensive issues.
In his absence, USC’s quarterback duties will likely fall to Miller Moss, the team’s backup quarterback. Head coach Lincoln Riley has expressed confidence in Moss’s abilities, commending his improvement as a player. Moss has had limited playing time but has performed well in the opportunities he’s been given. He appeared in games against San Jose State, Stanford, and Nevada, completing 23 of 32 passes for 309 yards, securing one passing touchdown along with two rushing touchdowns.
Alongside Moss is Malachi Nelson, a highly-touted prospect who is expected to enter the transfer portal after playing in just one game in 2023. Nelson was regarded as a five-star recruit, ranking as the No. 5 quarterback and No. 2 overall prospect from California in the 2023 recruiting class.
For USC, the absence of Williams presents an opportunity for Moss to take the reins and showcase his skills on a bigger stage in the Holiday Bowl, while the program looks towards the future, likely with Nelson exploring his options in the transfer portal.