USC football officially hires Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma as next head coach


USC football has just turned college football upside down.

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln riley is set to become the 30th head coach in USC program history, according to multiple reports. Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel was the first to report. Riley, 38, is considered one of the brightest attacking minds in college football and produced two Heisman winning quarterbacks to Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray with his powerful Air Raid offense.

UPDATE: USC formalized the rental just after 5 p.m.

“I am so excited to come to USC and join the Trojan family as the new head football coach. USC has an unprecedented football tradition with enormous resources and facilities, and the administration is deeply committed to winning. I look forward to honoring and continuing this successful tradition. The elements are in place so that we can put the program back where it should be and the fans expect it to be. We are going to work hard to develop a physical football team that is dominant on both lines of scrimmage, and that has dynamic balanced attack and strong aggressive defense, ”he said in the press release. to thank the administration, the coaches and the players. in Oklahoma for five incredible years as a head coach. We accomplished great things there and I will always treasure my time as soon as possible.

“We are delighted to announce Lincoln Riley as the new head coach and to welcome his wife Caitlin and their daughters Sloan and Stella to the Trojan family,” said athletic director Mike Bohn. “Lincoln is the rarest combination of an amazing person and an elite football coach. His successes and offensive accolades as a head coach over the past five years are astounding. Lincoln will continuously recruit, develop its players on and off the field, and implement a strong culture in which the program will operate with the highest level of integrity and professionalism. ”

The shocking news comes less than 24 hours after Oklahoma finished a 10-2 regular season on Saturday night, losing 37-32 to Oklahoma State in Bedlam, a loss that knocked the Sooners out of the Big 12 Conference Championship game. . In that post-game press conference, Riley denied recent reports that he was considering the post of LSU head coach.

“I won’t be LSU’s next head coach,” Riley said.

Riley, who replaced longtime Sooners head coach Bob Stoops, will join USC with a 55-10 coaching record after five seasons at the helm of Oklahoma. He guided the Sooners to four Big 12 conference championships in the first four seasons and three college football playoff appearances (0-3), most recently in 2019-20. Riley was FBS’s youngest head coach when the Sooners hired him at age 33.

The movements are sending shockwaves throughout the college football landscape, not only because they bring more power and credibility to a lagging Pac-12 conference and push USC back into the national spotlight, but also because that the rental apparently came out of nowhere.

The main names involved in the highly anticipated USC coaching recruiting in recent months centered around Matt Campbell of Iowa State, Luke Fickell of Cincinnati and Dave Aranda of Baylor. Riley’s name had only been loosely linked to the opening of LSU, but never to the Trojans, at least not until Sunday morning.

The less demanding Pac-12 also gives Riley a much easier path to the college football playoffs compared to the Big 12s and possibly the cut-throat SEC; Oklahoma and Texas were set to join the first college football conference starting in 2025.

Riley will inherit a USC team – particularly up front – that has been devoid of high-end talent in recent seasons. One of his potential building blocks is first-year dual-threat QB Jaxson Dart, one of the most prominent QB rookies in the 2021 cycle.

But he shouldn’t have much trouble resupplying USC in Southern California’s recruiting breeding ground. The former QB and Texas native has recruited exceptionally well on the West Coast recently with 2023 engagements from five-star QB Malachi Nelson, five-star catcher Makai Lemon and four-star catcher DeAndre Moore, all from Los Alamitos High School.

Overall, the Sooners have recruited nationally and currently hold the nation’s No. 7 class for the 2022 cycle and the No. 1 class in 2023. All of Riley’s recruiting classes finished in the Top 12 rankings. of the 247Sports class.

He replaces former struggling head coach Clay Helton, who was sacked after a Sept. 13 loss at Stanford in Week 2. Helton took over as USC’s full-time head coach after Steve Sargsyanwas sacked in 2015. He led USC to double-digit winning seasons in 2016 and 2017. Helton finished his tenure at USC with an overall record of 46-24. Interim head coach Donte Williams took over after the layoff and went 3-5.

Riley was a walk-in quarterback at Texas Tech in 2002 behind starter and current Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury. He eventually moved on to training as an assistant student under Mike Leach, and rose through the ranks to becoming a graduate assistant and wide receiver coach. In 2010, he left for East Carolina for his first position as offensive coordinator, which was a great success. Riley was so successful that legendary coach Stoops hired Riley to rejuvenate Oklahoma’s offense in 2015 before handing him the keys to one of college football’s major programs in 2017.

Now Riley has been given another set of keys for another Blue Blood program, a program now positioned to return to national relevance.

This story will be updated.

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