Graham Harrell reportedly could leave USC as target for other OC gig

USC footballl offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
USC footballl offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell has been mentioned as a target for the newly-opened OC gig at Texas, putting his future with the Trojans in question.

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UPDATE 12/4: Anwar Richardson of Orange Bloods reported on Wednesday afternoon that Texas head coach Tom Herman has reached out to Graham Harrell in regards to the Longhorns’ open OC job.

“Tom Herman has reached out to USC’s Graham Harrell about the vacant OC position at Texas, according to my sources,” Richardson tweeted. “I’m told there is interest on both sides. LSU’s Joe Brady is still in play. However, Herman is moving fast.”

The idea of there being “interest on both sides” backs up the earlier reporting from Zach Barnett of Football Scoop suggesting Harrell would be interested in leaving USC, regardless of Clay Helton’s status.

ORIGINAL: The best thing about the 2019 USC football season was arguably the emergence of a high-powered offense under new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell.

Now the Trojans are in danger of losing him.

CONFLICTING REPORTS: Has Clay Helton been fired?

There’s the obvious reason: USC may be on the verge of firing head coach Clay Helton and Harrell could be a baby thrown out with the bathwater in that scenario.

However, if national reporters are correct in their belief that Helton may still be retained, the Trojans could still enter the 2020 without Harrell on staff.

That’s because his success this season at USC is likely to attract suitors from other programs.

It didn’t take long for the rumors to appear either. On Sunday, in the midst of a swarm of firings across the country, Harrell was already mentioned as a target for the new vacancy at Texas.

“According to my sources, the top two candidates to replace offensive coordinator Tim Beck at Texas are USC’s Graham Harrell and LSU’s Joe Brady,” Anwar Richardson of Orange Bloods tweeted.

That report was followed up by an even more worrying one.

“A source tells me Graham Harrell would be interested in leaving USC for Texas independent of whether or not Clay Helton is retained for 2020,” Zach Barnett of Football Scoop tweeted.

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There are a few forces in play when it comes to Harrell’s possible decision.

First, he is from Texas. He was born there, set Texas high school records, played in college at Texas Tech and got his first major coaching gig at North Texas. Returning home to become the OC at the most prominent university in the state would make sense.

On the other hand, as a Texas Tech alum he may not have the softest feelings for the Longhorns. One of his most iconic moments as a college quarterback was an upset of No. 1 Texas.

There’s also an argument for Harrell to stay at USC to take advantage of continuity and a gem of a quarterback. Longhorn QB Sam Ehlinger is a junior with one year of eligibility remaining, should he choose to use it. Harrell would have to install his offense fresh in Austin knowing he will have to break in a new quarterback soon. At USC, his offense is already in place and he knows he has the quarterback to run it exceptionally well in Kedon Slovis.

Of course, it could all come down to money. It’s safe to say Texas may be more willing to throw around a big payday to get their way.

It’s something to keep an eye on.

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