“To the 11-year-old out there who’s watching right now, who was told you’re too small, like they told me. Go out there, show them how big your heart is.”
Over the weekend, USC quarterback Caleb Williams won the Heisman Trophy, and this is part of what he had to say in his acceptance speech:
Thank you to my brotherhood at Gonzaga College High School. Coach Randy Trivers, where you at, big dog? Stand up. Hey, hey.
You had the courage to start a ninth grader in the toughest high school conference in the country. The Gonzaga experience both on and off the field helped to prepare me in more ways than you can imagine. Coach, you may not know this. But the Gonzaga motto that you drilled into us, “Men for others,” has helped inspire me to create the Caleb Cares Foundation, which is all about giving back. So thank you, coach. Thank you, Gonzaga.
… And now, to the most important woman in my life. Thank you for always being my mom first. The woman behind the scenes who has a smile on her face and is willing to help others. You’re an inspiration to me in many ways. To the old man over there, my dad, he always walks to the beat of his own drum. Thank you for showing me the way. You instilled a work ethic in me at a young age that I can’t thank you enough for. From the training sessions and the late-night practices, even opening Athletic Republic so my guys and I could go train. You’re always there for me making sacrifices in your life so I can achieve my dreams, which eventually became our dreams. It may seem to go unnoticed and unappreciated, but you mean the world to me. We’re in this together and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
… The path hasn’t always been easy. And this is me speaking to the 11-year-old out there who’s watching right now, who was told you’re too small, like they told me. Go out there, show them how big your heart is. To the seventh grader who was passed over on the team like I was, use that adversity to ignite your passion like I did. To the ninth grader out there who no one believes can make varsity, you can if you believe. To the 10th grader losing in the championship game but had belief that we were gonna come back and win down 20 in the first half. Always believe that there’s one more Hail Mary up your sleeve. And to the college freshman who was fighting for a chance to contribute and get on the field with your brothers, your time is coming, keep going. And if you lose your bid to get to the College Playoffs, know that you will get through it like I did. And like I just learned. Back to work. The job isn’t done.
The early setbacks that I encountered lit a fire, they started my journey. Your journey will be your own. Just keep believing and keep pursuing your goals. If you’re willing to put in the work and surround yourself with positive people, you can achieve anything. I used to write down my goals in a journal and what used to just be words on a piece of paper has me standing here today. So everyone dreams really do come true.
Thank you. Fight On.
Watch the speech below.