Did former USC All-American Kenechi Udeze just give Trojan fans a major clue on Twitter as to the identity of the new USC defensive line coach?
USC target Jonathan Kongbo tweeted a picture of himself, Clay Helton and Kenechi Udeze, confirming the legitimacy of Udeze’s twitter handle.
Kongbo is a four-star JUCO defensive end who recently de-committed from Tennessee. USC is competing with Alabama and Florida State, among others, for his signature.
USC assistant strength and conditioning coach Kenechi Udeze seems to have created a new Twitter account, posting a single tweet early Wednesday morning which was later retweeted by Trojan defensive lineman Kenny Bigelow:
The significance of that message? Following her son’s visit to USC this past weekend, the mother of top-rated recruit Rashan Gary told Scout that the Trojans indicated they would have a defensive line coach in place by Wednesday and that they would come to visit immediately.
Wednesday has now rolled around and Udeze is apparently on his way to see “the nation’s most feared PASS RUSHER.”
Could that mean Udeze has been promoted to defensive line coach? It seems entirely possible, though obviously unconfirmed.
Udeze served as USC’s temporary defensive line coach for Holiday Bowl preparation after the Clay Helton fired Chris Wilson following the Pac-12 Championship game. Though the Trojans lost that game in a lackluster performance, the one bright spot on the night was the effort put in by USC’s defensive front.
Defensive end Delvon Simmons finished the season with the best game of his career, leading the team with 11 tackles, including two tackles for loss. Defensive tackle Antwaun Woods was also impressive in his final outing as Trojan, logging eight tackles and a tackle for loss.
Moreover, the hire would fall in line with USC’s trend for this coaching cycle, preferring internal or connected hires to other options.
For now, it is a wait-and-see game.
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If Udeze has indeed been hired on, this would be his first full-time coaching position. He served as an assistant strength coach at Washington for three seasons under Steve Sarkisian. After two years as an assistant and fellow in the NFL, he spent one year at Pitt with the same title before joining USC almost exactly a year ago.
As a Trojan, Udeze had a decorated career on the defensive line. He was a three-year starter and consensus All-American in 2003 with 16.5 sacks on the season.
Udeze was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings and built a solid presence in the pros before his career was ended when he was diagnosed with leukemia. He beat the disease and attempted to return to the NFL, but the side effects of chemotherapy saw him retire in 2009.