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USC QB Caleb Williams Joins ‘Seize the Awkward’ Mental Health Campaign

USC Trojans QB Caleb Williams teams up with Seize the Awkward, a campaign that aims to support young adults’ mental health.

You’ve got friend in USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams, and he wants you to know it.

The 2022 Heisman Trophy candidate recently announced his partnership with “Seize the Awkward,” a campaign that aims to support young adults’ mental and emotional wellness. In a PSA released Wednesday in collaboration with Ad Council, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, The Jed Foundation, Caleb Cares Foundation, and USC’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, Williams wants everyone to “embrace talking openly about our mental health.”

“When the stadium lights have dimmed, when the cameras stop flashing, when the pads are off, the pressure sinks in and it’s just me. Just me and a world of expectation. Nobody can carry that alone,” Williams opens in the new PSA.

Furthermore, the mission of the campaign is to get “young people to check in with their peers and have open conversations about their mental health,” per an official press release. As a student-athlete in the national spotlight, Williams understands how those in his age range may deal with mental health struggles on a daily basis.

While at Oklahoma during his freshman season in 2021, Williams found himself in the midst of a battle for the starting quarterback job with Spencer Rattler. As fellow 5-star prospects, albeit from different recruiting classes, the expectations were high for both — and Williams faced the additional challenge of learning to live over 1,300 miles away from his home in Washington, DC for the first time.

Williams ultimately bounced in and out of starting lineup throughout 2021 as part of a whirlwind season that notably saw him relieve Rattler against bitter foes Texas in the Red River Rivalry. He accounted for over 300 yards of total offense and three touchdowns en route to a thrilling 55-48 comeback victory and was hailed as a hero, but just six weeks later, it was a different story.

Despite throwing for 252 yards and three touchdowns, Williams and Co. dropped a nail-biter to in-state rivals Oklahoma State. The fans in Norman weren’t happy, and they were unafraid to voice their displeasure about the QB and his teammates on social media.

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Williams admitted in the PSA that the Bedlam loss to the Cowboys “one of the tougher times in my life.”

“I kind of turned off social media — Twitter, Instagram, anything like that — and focused on what I liked to do and my support system, my team, my teammates,” Williams said. “What I mean by my support system is either my close friends. My really close friends, my family members, my mentors that have been there and know me.”

Williams went on to transfer to USC for the 2022 campaign, reuniting with former Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley. There’s been much speculation as to why the move was made, but in the end, Williams made the best decision for himself and for his mental health.

That’s what he’s all about. And his goal is to share the lessons learned from his journey so far with young people everywhere.

“I hope everyone sees the importance of supporting your friends and what a huge difference that can make in someone’s life,” Williams said.

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