It’s been weeks since USC lost their last offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury to the NFL just a month after accepting the job. Since then we haven’t heard much on the USC Trojans search for a new offensive coordinator, until now.
Sunday afternoon Adam Maya of TrojanSports.com reported that USC is currently in deep discussions with North Texas offensive coordinator Graham Harrell to take the same position with the Trojans. This follows Bruce Feldman’s tweet on Sunday morning tweeting that the North Texas offensive coordinator had interest from Oklahoma State and USC.
In recent developments Brett Vito of the Denton Record-Chronicle, a local newspaper in Denton, Texas where University of North Texas resides, confirmed that Graham Harrell is indeed interviewing with USC for the offensive coordinating job.
Graham Harrell has become one of the more sought after coaches once Kingsburry was off the market. Both he and the Arizona Cardinals head coach shares a lot of similarities. Harrell had a very productive career under Mike Leach at Texas Tech before moving on to the NFL. Harrell started his coaching career at Oklahoma State where he was an quality control assistant under Cowboys’ head coach Mike Gundy. He then moved on to Washington State as an outside receivers coach under his former coach, current Washington State head coach Mike Leach before taking the offensive coordinator job at North Texas in 2017.
In his two seasons at North Texas, the Mean Green were in the Top 25 in offensive yardage in back to back seasons. Harrell’s ability to develop quarterbacks during the two seasons at North Texas has stuck-out to head coaches across the country per Bruce Feldman. North Texas quarterback Mason Fine has a 58-20 touchdown-interception ratio the last two seasons. The development of quarterback JT Daniels will be a key factor to the Trojans.
Harrell's ability to develop QBs has made him very intriguing to head coaches. Harrell's protege at North Texas Mason Fine has a 58-20 TD-INT ratio the past two years. https://t.co/eXU8CwxjYg— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 27, 2019
While Harrell isn’t a huge name like Kingsbury, he is a very productive offensive coordinator that could help the Trojans in many ways. Last season USC had their worst offensive season since 2000. They were on the bottom half of the Pac-12 in scoring. If the Trojans can close the deal and land Harrell, it will finally be a bright spot opposed to the series of negativity that has hit the USC football program for the whole month. Harrell will have a plethora of talent to utilize on offense with wide receivers Michael Pittman Jr., Tyler Vaughns, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Velus Jones Jr., and Devon Williams returning as well as a stable of talent running backs.
USC will have to make their hire quickly as National Signing Day (February 6th) approaches. Five star athlete Bru McCoy already transferred to Texas after enrolling early to USC and four-star running back Jordan Wilmore decommitted from the Trojans already as well. They must hold on to current wide receiver commits Kyle Ford and Puka Nacua and find an identity for their offense.