What to make of some of the bigger hires in college football

Lincoln Riley brings swagger to USC

By: Tim Rodriguez

There has been no shortage of movement in college football this year. With the transfer portal taking over, players are constantly changing programs. However, the biggest changes in the sport have occurred in the coaching world. Some of the biggest programs in college football have filled their vacant head coach roles with some massive names. What should we make of some of the “big hirings” of this cycle?

USC Trojans: Lincoln Riley

Championships. That is the expectation for Lincoln Riley at USC. Recruits have already started to pour over to Southern California, following Riley from Oklahoma. Why? Because in just a short amount of time, Lincoln Riley has proven one thing to be true: If you play offense for Riley, you will be playing on Sundays. With location advantages, the addition of NIL, and a PAC-12 in flux, there are almost zero reasons that Lincoln Riley cannot win a national championship for the Trojans.

Florida Gators: Billy Napier

The Florida Gators took a massive leap of faith with Louisiana head coach Billy Napier. Jumping to the SEC from the group of five is quite the culture shock, but if anyone can do it, Napier may be the one. Napier takes recruiting incredibly seriously, and has already had some massive wins in assembling his staff, such as pulling Corey Raymond, possibly the best defensive backs coach in the country, away from LSU.

LSU Tigers: Brian Kelly

Was the accent thing awkward? Sure, but LSU is about as well positioned as any program in the country. Brian Kelly brings over a decade of winning experience to a program that has just as many wins, but lacked stability with Ed Orgeron. The last three coaches have won championships at LSU and Brian Kelly aims to win his first title in Baton Rouge. At LSU, Kelly will be able to recruit in ways in which he never was able to at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Marcus Freeman

After being the defensive coordinator at Cincinnati just two years ago, Marcus Freeman finds himself as the head coach of Notre Dame, one of the biggest brands in college football. That may be one of the most expeditious jumps in recent memory. With support from the players and staff, Freeman was named head coach rather quickly after Brian Kelly’s abrupt departure. Freeman, along with offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, form one of the youngest head coaching duos in all of the sport.

Miami Hurricanes: Mario Cristobal

Mario Cristobal returns home to South Florida. Miami has suffered from instability, lack of resources, and just plain old bad coaching. Cristobal brings a recruiting prowess that Miami has not had in ages. With Cristobal comes a reinvestment into the football program (and even rumors of a stadium) that looks to be exactly the shot in the arm that the program needs. With Florida and Miami hiring recruiting geniuses and Florida State boasting the second best ACC recruiting class in 2022… is the state of Florida back?

Oklahoma Sooners: Brent Venables

After the devastating loss of Lincoln Riley, the Oklahoma football program was rather diligent in looking for their next leading man. They landed on Brent Venables, bringing him back to Norman after so many successful years at Clemson. Venables has already had a massive win with his coaching staff in retaining Bill Bedenbaugh, one of the best offensive line coaches in college football.

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