USC football is on the verge of hiring Oregon cornerbacks coach Donte Wiliams to the same position, making a statement hire on defense.
Oregon made a big statement in 2019 when they won the Pac-12 and bested Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Going on to recruit the fertile Southern California recruiting ground.
USC just responded.
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The Trojans are set to hire Donte Williams away from the Ducks as their new cornerbacks coach and passing game coordinator, according to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic.
That second title is interesting and likely refers to the defensive side of the ball. While coaching cornerback at Nebraska in 2016 and 2017, Williams had a hand in pass defense coordination.
Why is Williams such a big hire for USC? He was the top recruiter in the Pac-12 for 2020, per 247Sports. He was responsible for landing five-star linebacker Justin Flow and four-star former USC receiver commit Kris Hutson, among other highly-touted players. Last year he ranked fifth among recruiters in the Pac-12. In 2014 he was the top recruiter in the Mountain West while working at San Jose State.
But Williams isn’t just a stud recruiter. He has also developed Deommodore Lenoir and Thomas Graham, both Pac-12 honorable mentions at cornerback in 2019. The former delivered 47 tackles, one forced fumble, 2.5 tackles for loss, two quarterback hurries, seven pass breakups and one interception, coincidentally against USC. The latter had 64 tackles, five tackles for loss, a forced fumble, 10 pass breakups, and two interceptions as a junior. Both showed great improvement from the previous season.
Landing a figure like Williams certainly makes up for letting well-liked defensive backs coach Greg Burns go a week ago.
It also makes a statement that USC is willing to get serious about its assistant coaching hires. Williams just signed an extension with Oregon, yet the Trojans swooped in and paid the money necessary to pick him up.
This comes on the heels of USC going out and getting Kansas State special teams analyst Sean Snyder, who had been one of the top special teams coaches in the country before his father’s retirement in 2018.
With Williams on board, USC has one more staff position to fill. The defensive line is the only unit without a coach.