Air Raid. Former Texas Tech quarterback. Mastermind of a prolific offense.
This time, it’s Graham Harrell, who reportedly will settle into the USC offensive coordinator position vacated by Kliff Kingsbury, who checked all those same boxes.
According to multiple reports, USC’s long-open offensive coordinator position has been filled, as North Texas’ Harrell will take over the same position at USC.
The move was first reported by The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman.
In the three weeks since Kingsbury’s departure to become the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, Harrell appeared to be the name most connected to the opening, and now he will bring the Air Raid offense with him to Los Angeles.
Harrell is widely viewed as potentially the next great Air Raid coordinator, as he has put together a dynamic offense during his three years at North Texas. After taking over the Mean Green offense following a one-win season in which they scored 15 points per game, Harrell guided North Texas to a top-25 offense in each of the past two seasons.
His work with Mason Fine should be noted, as the junior quarterback threw for 7,845 yards and 58 touchdowns over the past two seasons. And while the Air Raid offense will certainly slant things toward the pass, North Texas running back DeAndre Torrey ran for 977 yards and 15 touchdowns last season.
After a stellar career at Texas Tech, Harrell began his coaching career at Oklahoma State, under head coach Mike Gundy. Harrell then coached at Washington State under Leach before becoming one of Seth Littrell’s first hires at North Texas, where he served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
This hire should give the USC offense a definitive direction, as head coach Clay Helton was obviously looking to move to this offensive system with Kingsbury’s hiring and can now continue that way, hoping to take advantage of USC’s skill position talent at wide receiver, tight end, and running back. Harrell will serve as both the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
While this is decidedly a move away from the Power I and dedication to an overwhelming running game that many USC fans have been longing for, the potential to see skill players running in space and putting points on the board should make this a welcome addition to the offense and a bright spot in what has been, to this point, a rough offseason.