Helton: USC close to hiring cornerbacks coach, more additions coming

Michael Castillo/Reign of Troy
Michael Castillo/Reign of Troy /

Head coach Clay Helton indicated USC is close to hiring an as-of-yet unnamed cornerbacks coach, with additional hires coming in a “two week period.”

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After dismissing three defensive coaches on Monday, USC is working on securing replacements quickly, within the next two weeks if head coach Clay Helton has his way.

The Trojans have already hired former Texas safeties Craig Naivar in the same role under new defensive coordinator Todd Orlando. Another hire is apparently imminent.

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“We’ve got a corners coach that we will hire here soon,” head coach Clay Helton said during Trojans Live on Wednesday evening.

It’s not clear who the cornerbacks coach could be. The obvious choice would be Jason Washington, who coached cornerbacks for Orlando at Texas, alongside Naivar. However, he has already been officially hired by Mike Leach to coach safeties at Mississippi State.

An additional two hires will come down the line to complete the staff. Those two will include a defensive line coach, which Orlando is “working on,” and a special teams coordinator.

Helton also confirmed that USC will be hiring a special teams coordinator.

“Hopefully we’ll have them in the next two week period,” Helton said.

The Trojans need these new coaches because they parted ways with the entirety of the defensive staff from 2019, as well as special teams coordinator John Baxter.

Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast was fired shortly after USC’s embarrassing Holiday Bowl loss to Iowa. Outside linebackers coach Joe Deforest left immediately to join the staff at NC State.

Defensive backs coach Greg Burns, defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a and inside linebackers coach Johnny Nansen remained on staff until Monday when the official announcement of their release was dropped. That same day USC announced the hiring of Naivar and tight ends coach John David Baker, who had been an offensive quality control assistant for the team in 2019.

Short of unexpected changes on offense, which returns offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, offensive line coach Tim Drevno, running backs coach Mike Jinks and wide receiver coach Keary Colbert, the Trojans will complete the 10-man staff once the remaining three hires are completed.

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