Before Caleb Williams was a football player, Caleb Williams was a hero in an 18th c. novel

Similarities between Caleb Williams and Caleb Williams.

The 18th century character Caleb Williams becomes a fugitive after discovering that his employer is a murderer. As the only one who knows this secret, Caleb Williams is threatened and silenced by Falkland through ongoing surveillance even though he promises to remain silent. As Williams seeks to escape Falkland’s employment and watchful eye, he becomes an expert at eluding Falkland’s hired guards and detectives. He flees the estate, falls in with a band of robbers, is thrown into jail, and plots a dangerous prison break. From that point on, he runs, hoping to settle down in one place, but ultimately being flushed out. His only recourse is to confront Falkland.

Quarterback Caleb Williams possesses some of the same qualities as his namesake. A good strategist, he runs fast when he is flushed out of the pocket, knows how to play the long game, and is ready for confrontation when it happens. And yet unlike, his namesake, he is more confident and willing to face his opponents. While the 18th century Caleb could fashion a disguise, the Heismann trophy winner Caleb is comfortable in the spotlight. GQ calls his fashion sense “quirky,” noting both his tailored suits and painted nails. As a quarterback, Caleb thinks of himself as a “trailblazer” in the era of new brand sponsorship in college. 

The author of the novel Caleb Williams rode a wave of popular Gothic novels; today’s Caleb Williams will be tested next season as an NFL player. Let’s hope that he continues to delight and inspire fans who know how talented he is. 

Related Links

Kirchner, Alex. “Behind the Scenes at Heisman Weekend with Caleb Williams, the Face of the New College Football”, 12 December 2022.

Godwin, William. Caleb Williams, (1794 Project Gutenberg.)

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