Tyson Helton reportedly leaving USC Football for Tennessee

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

Quarterbacks coach Tyson Helton is set to leave USC Football to join the staff at Tennessee, according to a report from VolQuest.com.

A USC Football assistant coach is reportedly leaving the Trojans for a post at Tennessee…but it’s not offensive coordinator Tee Martin.

Quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Tyson Helton is on the verge of taking on offensive coordinator duties on Jeremy Pruitt’s new staff at Tennessee, VolQuest.com reported on Thursday. The report was also confirmed by ESPN’s Chris Low.

Martin had long been linked to the head coaching vacancy at Tennessee, as a national-title winning alum with the Volunteers. However, after news of Pruitt’s imminent hiring emerged on Wednesday night, ESPN reported that Martin was not expected to take the offensive coordinator job at Tennessee either.

SEE MORE: Tee Martin Unlikely to Leave USC For Tennessee

Instead, USC head coach Clay Helton will apparently see his younger brother depart from his staff.

The move makes sense on all sides. Helton left Western Kentucky to join the Trojans in 2016, but took a demotion to do so, giving up his offensive coordinator duties to work under Martin. The opportunity to step back up into a true offensive coordinator position appears too hard to pass up.

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From USC’s side of things, losing the younger Helton may create a hiring hurdle, but it could work out for the best. Reports and rumors this season had suggested that the Trojans’ playcalling system involved the trio of the two Heltons and Martin, muddling the offensive flow and identity of USC’s offense. Helton’s departure should clarify Martin’s role as offensive coordinator and playcaller.

The Trojans may have to find a new quarterbacks coach, but Helton and Martin have already showed some promise when it comes to hiring offensive assistants. New running backs coach Deland McCullough was a homerun hire before the 2017 season.

Two other questions remain: Will Helton coach at USC for the Cotton Bowl at the end of November or leave his post immediately?

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Also, what does Helton’s departure mean for quarterback Sam Darnold?  The redshirt sophomore will be making his decision to stay at USC or leave early for the NFL over the coming month. The prospect of a new quarterbacks coach could be a positive or negative factor in that decision.