Sean Snyder to USC: Hits home run with reported special teams hire

Sean Snyder, long-time Kansas State assistant, is set to be hired as USC’s new special teams coordinator, according to multiple reports.

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USC appears to be on the verge of hiring a new special teams coordinator. And it’s a bit of a home run hire.

Sean Snyder, the son of legendary Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder, is Clay Helton’s pick to replace John Baxter, according to Ryan Black of The Manhattan Mercury as well as Bruce Feldman of The Athletic.

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Snyder was the special teams coordinator under his father for eight seasons. He stepped out of that role in 2019 to serve as an analyst for new head coach Chris Klieman.

The hire appears to be an unquestionably strong one for USC.

“Sean Snyder was really highly regarded as a special teams guy by rival coaches in the Big 12. His guys were usually a fixture in the Top 10 nationally in ESPN’s ST efficiency rankings at K-State,” Feldman tweeted in the wake of the report.

The assessment fits with Snyder’s resume. In 2017 and 2015, Phil Steele named him Special Teams Coordinator of the Year. Football Scoop also gave him the nod in 2015.

Why was 2015 such a special year for Snyder? He had two All-Big 12 kickers, a feat only one other Big 12 team has ever achieved.

That same season kick returner Morgan Burns was named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year after leading the nation with four return touchdowns.

Burns won that honor, but it was the third consecutive season K-State’s return man had done so. Tyler Lockett sealed two Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year awards in 2013 and 2014, each under Snyder.

When it comes to replacing Baxter, whose special teams performance had tanked in the past two seasons, USC could hardly do better than Snyder.

The Fremeau Efficiency Index had Kansas State’s special teams in the Top 40 in all eight years he coached. The 2017 season was exceptional by the numbers, ranking No. 1. He also achieved the No. 12 rank in 2015, No. 3 in 2014 and No. 6 in 2012.

To put that in perspective, USC ranked 95th in 2019.

Kansas State ranked in the Top 10 of ESPN’s special teams efficiency ratings four times in the last five years of Snyder’s coaching, as pointed out by Antonio Morales of The Athletic.

Snyder himself was an outstanding punter at Kansas State from 1990 to 1992. He was a first team All-American as a senior.

The hiring of Snyder means USC has two more open positions to fill on the coaching staff. The Trojans announced the addition of safeties coach Craig Naivar and tight ends coach John David Baker on Monday.

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