Oklahoma University Loses Head Coach, Starting Quarterback, and Multiple Recruits

Garret Hall, Staff Writer

Lincoln Riley, former Sooners head coach, announced that he would be leaving the organization to become the head coach for the University of South California Trojans. Many players and fans were upset after hearing this news, especially since he said he wouldn’t be leaving Oklahoma University for Louisiana State. 

During his time at OU, Riley led his team on to 3 playoff appearances and four consecutive Big 12 title games.

Riley stated “Leaving OU was probably the most difficult decision of my life. OU is one of the best football programs in the country and it has been forever. … This was a personal decision solely based on my willingness to go take on a new challenge, I felt like it was the right opportunity for me and my family to do that.” 

Due to this series of events, one of their undecided starting quarterbacks, Spencer Rattler, entered the transfer portal. Rattler was replaced by Caleb Williams during his underwhelming performance against Texas this season. Obviously, this frustrated Rattler and the change in coaching was the last straw for him. When announcing his entry into the transfer portal he said this:

“Sooner Nation, thank you for allowing me to be a student-athlete at this prestigious institution. Thank you to every teammate and coach these last three seasons. Special thanks to my family and friends for your support. Thank God for the game of football. It’s the ultimate team sport and brings people and communities together unlike anything else. At this time I would like to announce that I have decided to enter the transfer portal to continue my academic and athletic career. Thank you again, Oklahoma. I will miss you.”

Rattler isn’t the only player to think about leaving, rumors have been circulating about Rattler’s replacement, Caleb Williams. Rumors state that Caleb Williams is thinking about entering the transfer portal and leaving OU behind. Oklahoma has prioritized keeping him as their starting quarterback and convincing him to stay. 

Williams recently attended a Sooners basketball game, which eased fans a bit. Seeing Williams at a basketball game means one of two things, either he’s making a statement and saying ‘I’m staying at OU’ or it means he just wanted to watch basketball. 

On top of these big scares for the Sooners offense, they also lost a few 2022 and 2023 recruits. Most notably 5 star QB recruit Malachi Nelson. Malachi stated he decommited “in the light of the recent events and changes.” 

Coach Riley had played a big role in the recruitment process for Nelson, and without Riley there, Nelson felt there were better options. 

Malachai said this “One of the things that attracted me most to OU, other than the rich history and amazing fans, was the stability in the coaching staff and their ability to develop the QB position.”

Other notable decommits include Linebacker Kobie McKinzie, wide receiver Brandon Inniss and Runningback Treyaunn Webb. 

With all of these changes in coaching and offensive players, it will be interesting to see how the Sooners perform in the 2022 season.