College News & Analysis

“We’re going to win a national championship. Nothing less, nothing more": Dorian Singer and Mario Williams' big expectations for USC in 2023

USC wide receivers Dorian Singer and Mario Williams sit down for an exclusive interview with PFF.

• One of the best receiving corps in the country: Singer and Williams lead PFF’s No. 6-ranked receiving corps heading into the 2023 season.

• Championship expectations: Both Singer and Williams have made it clear that they expect USC to win a national title this season.

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All eyes will be on reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams this season. But his eyes will be locked on Dorian Singer and Mario Williams, his top two receivers this fall.

While they are teammates now, the two took very different paths to Los Angeles. Williams was a top-35 recruit in the 2021 class and originally went to Oklahoma. As a true freshman, he caught 35 passes without a drop, the fourth-most among Power Five receivers.

That offseason, he followed quarterback  Caleb Williams and head coach Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma to USC in what was a pretty easy decision for him.

“It was kind of like, ‘Why not?’” Williams said in an exclusive interview with PFF.

Singer wasn’t nearly as coveted coming out of high school. In fact, he didn’t receive an offer from any FBS school.

“It was a very rough time,” Singer said. “I just put all of my faith into the man above. I kept working and striving for greatness. I knew at some point that my time would come up. I kept working so I could be ready when that time was. I believed in myself to prove everybody wrong each day for whatever program took the chance on me. I was going to live up to the [potential] I know I’m capable of.”

He did just that as a preferred walk-on at Arizona. Last year, the sophomore recorded 29 catches of 15-plus yards, trailing only Marvin Harrison Jr. among returning Power Five receivers. His 1,105 receiving yards were fourth among that same group. He also scored six touchdowns, with three of them coming against USC.

“Some of the defensive players joke about it sometimes,” Singer said with a laugh.

Following the 2022 season, he entered the transfer portal. And the 6-foot, 180-pounder went from a player with no FBS offers coming out of high school to the most coveted receiver in the portal. Despite offers from major programs like Penn State and Oregon, one destination stood out.

“I liked USC’s offensive scheme,” he said. “We had night games on Saturdays, so I’d turn on the TV in the hotel room and just watch them. I felt like their concepts really fit me. Coach Riley is an offensive guru. One thing he says is that he doesn’t make the offense, the player makes the offense. That was something that stood out to me.”

When Singer first got to USC, Williams made sure that he felt at home immediately.

“Anybody that comes into USC, we take them in as brothers,” Williams said. “We don’t treat them like a new player. We take that seriously. He’s a part of the family now, and I’ll do whatever I can to help him. Shoot, I’ll take anything from him too.”

That love was immediately felt and appreciated.

“When I first got here, he was so welcoming,” Singer said. “He taught me a lot of stuff about my game. He really helped me in the sense of getting acclimated to the offense. Big hats off to him. Mario is one of my best friends here. It’s fun being around him. We always joke around. We are each other’s hype man.”

With Singer and Williams leading the way, the Trojans have one of the best receiving corps in the country heading into this season. When asked if they were the best, Singer was willing to let their play do the talking.

“That’s for the media to decide,” Singer said. “But we’re going to put on a show that you guys at the end will know.”

Williams was more inclined to give a definitive answer.

“I think we’re the best receiving corps in college football.”

It also doesn’t hurt that they’re catching passes from the best player in the nation. When describing what makes Williams so special, they both pointed to off-field reasons rather than his dominance on the gridiron.

“He gets us going,” Singer said. “Whatever he says, his voice is so powerful. If he told us to run through a brick wall, 10 guys would run through a brick wall for him.”

“He listens,” Williams said. “Not all quarterbacks listen to their receivers. He's also a great player, a great person. We got along, and we both are rooting for each other to do our best. He believed in me without really knowing me [at first].”

USC’s passing attack should be the best in college football this season. The Trojans have the nation’s best offensive mind in Lincoln Riley, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in Caleb Williams, one of the best receiving corps in the country and a top-five offensive line. For the star receiving duo, the expectations are simple.

“Pac-12 championship. National championship. 15-0,” Singer said.

“We’re going to win a national championship,” Williams said. “Nothing less, nothing more. That’s what we’re aiming for, and that’s what we’re going to get.”

The journey for that national title begins this Saturday when sixth-ranked USC hosts San José State.

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