Keary Colbert reportedly promoted to tight ends coach for USC Football

Keary Colbert
Keary Colbert /

Former wide receiver and current support staffer Keary Colbert will be promoted to coach tight end for USC Football, according to multiple reports.

Clay Helton has reportedly found his 10th assistant coach, promoting offensive quality control assistant Keary Colbert from within the program.

The decision to promote Colbert was reported on Thursday by Scott Wolf of the LA Daily News and Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports.

Colbert has been on Helton’s staff since 2016, re-joining the Trojans after a stint as assistant tight ends coach in 2010. In the intervening years he spent time as an assistant wide receivers coach at Georgia State and an offensive analyst for Nick Saban’s Alabama.

USC fans will be very familiar with Colbert as a player as well. The former Trojan left college as USC’s all-time leading pass catcher, finishing his career with 207 receptions for 2,964 yards and 19 touchdowns.

He helped the Trojans win a national title in 2003 with an exceptional Rose Bowl performance including 149 yards and a touchdown.

Colbert was a second round pick for the Carolina Panthers in 2004 and also spent time with the Broncos, Seahawks and Lions during his NFL career, which officially ended in 2011.

Now Colbert will be tasked with coaching up a talented group of tight ends returning to USC in 2018, including veteran starters Tyler Petite and Daniel Imatorbhebhe, along with young talents Josh Falo and Erik Krommenhoek.

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There had been speculation that Colbert could be a candidate to fill the wide receivers coach position, freeing up offensive coordinator Tee Martin to either coach quarterbacks or focus solely on his coordinator duties. Instead, he will free up special teams coordinator John Baxter, who had handled tight ends for the last two years.

Adding a tight ends coach may be a real positive for the Trojans, especially considering the way highly-touted prospect Cary Angeline opted to transfer away in the fall. Baxter told reporters after Angeline left the program that he had no prior knowledge of the young tight end’s decision.

Colbert’s hiring marks the second expected promotion from USC’s support staff this offseason. Graduate assistant Bryan Ellis is reportedly in line to take over for departed quarterbacks coach Tyson Helton.

In one sense, the predictability of the move is worth criticizing. However, the Trojans have had great success promoting from within. USC All-American and former support staffer Kenechi Udeze was elevated to coach the defensive line in 2016 and has proven to be a savvy, well-deserved hire.

Colbert’s experience being around Nick Saban is also a plus in his corner.

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Though Colbert fills the new 10th assistant coach slot opened up by the NCAA this year, the Trojans still have one more job to fill after running backs coach Deland McCullough took a job with the Kansas City Chiefs. That is if Helton doesn’t make any additional changes in the coming weeks.