Lincoln Riley is leaving the University of Oklahoma to become the head coach at the University of Southern California. The announcement came Sunday, November 28, after he denied multiple reports of him going to LSU and reassured the fanbase of his allegiance to the Sooners’ moving forward. " All of us are trying to make this place better, make this program better,” Riley said during a press conference on Saturday, “and so you don't do that without working together and conversing with each other. So of course we're gonna continue to do that. We work well together, and we're going to keep working well together.”
Riley spent five seasons as the Sooners’ head coach, finishing with a 55-10 regular season record, a 1-3 bowl record, including an 0-3 playoff record. Additionally, Riley had won four consecutive Big 12 titles. With their loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday, this season marks the first time in his tenure at Oklahoma where the Sooners will miss the Big 12 championship.
Apparently Riley is taking a few staffers with him to USC—defensive coordinator Alex Grinch and Wide Receivers coach Dennis Simmons to name a few.
Riley has shown to be somewhat of a quarterback guru his whole tenure at Oklahoma. Fortunately, Riley will inherit USC quarterback Jaxson Dart, who flashed and showed the ability to be a really good quarterback. To add to that, the Trojans have plenty of young talent at the wide receiver position including sophomores Tahj Washington and Gary Bryant Jr.
USC is currently ranked 67th in recruiting, but we can be rest assured they will come storming up that list as Riley is a masterful recruiter. Riley brought in multiple five-star quarterbacks while at Oklahoma, and he landed a huge transfer in Jalen Hurts. Additionally, he’s landed multiple big time receivers and a host of other special talent.
The Trojans are in good hands moving forward.
Unfortunately for the Sooners, former starting quarterback Spencer Rattler recently announced he was leaving Oklahoma and entered the transfer portal. Though he was no longer the starter, his absence will be felt moving forward. Additionally, they’ve already lost multiple big name top recruits, including class of 2022 linebacker Kobie McKinzie. To make matters worse, 2023 recruits got a whiff of the news and the news affected their signing. Class of 2023 Five star quarterback Malachi Nelson decommitted after hearing the news of Lincoln. Wide receiver Brandon Inniss is the 6th ranked prospect in Florida and the 29th recruit in the 2023 class, it’ll be a big blow to Oklahoma moving forward. After Nelson, running back Raleek Brown may have been the biggest player to hint at not attending Oklahoma. It hasn't become official, but Brown stated Lincoln leaving would change a lot for him. Brown is the 60th ranked overall prospect. Furthermore, Brown is the second ranked California prospect and he was highly recruited by USC before ultimately choosing to sign with the Sooners.
To add more fuel to the fire, the Sooners are set to join the SEC sometime before 2025.
Riley on the other hand, will have it much easier at USC. He’s joining the PAC12 where the competition is a bit thinner than it is in the Big12 and especially thinner than the SEC competition. No matter how you shape it, Oklahoma losing Riley is a huge loss for the program, and a big gain for USC.