Graham Harrell is staying in Los Angeles. After reported interest from Texas and head coaching overtures from UT-San Antonio and UNLV, Harrell has decided to return to USC. The Trojans will keep their offensive coordinator on a new three-year, $1.2 million deal.
Bruce Feldman had the news first:
USC announced the extension officially and Harrell released a video on the USC Athletics Twitter account:
Harrell was hired by USC in January of 2019 after Kliff Kingsbury left to take over as head coach for the Arizona Cardinals. He installed his version of the Air Raid offense and saw immediate success in his first year.
With Kedon Slovis, a true freshman quarterback, leading the way, USC's offense flourished in 2019. The Trojans finished fifth nationally in passing offense (335.9 yards per game), 19th in total offense (462.2 yards per game) and scored 51 touchdowns this season (which ranks 35th). That comes after a season in which USC is dismal offensively and finished 83rd in the nation in total offense (382.6 yards per game).
Harrell's ability to author that turnaround made him a hot name in coaching searches. Texas head coach Tom Herman is searching for a new offensive coordinator and Harrell was reportedly his top choice.
Harrell will have a wildly-talented offense at his disposal next season. With Slovis and most of his receivers back, plus the team's entire stable of running backs returning, the Trojans should be able to build off of what they started in 2019.
Despite the turmoil at USC, this was good news for the program.