Clemson hires Garrett Riley: Tigers poach TCU offensive coordinator to help revitalize struggling offense
Clemson has hired TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley to the same position, the school announced Friday. Riley, 33, was named the Broyles Award winner as the top assistant coach in college football after helping lead the Horned Frogs to their first national championship appearance. Riley’s contract is a three-year deal worth $1.75 million per year that was approved by the Board of Trustees on Friday.
“I am very excited to welcome Garrett and Lindsay Riley and their two precious sons to the Clemson family,” said coach Dabo Swinney. “Garrett has an outstanding record. His work – including last season when his ninth scoring offense helped TCU go from a five-win team to a national championship game finalist with 13 wins on the season first of their coaching staff – – speaks for itself… I know all of Clemson will help welcome the Riley family to the Clemson family with open arms.”
Riley helped oversee a transformation at TCU as the Frogs jumped from 5-7 to 13-2 under first-year coach Sonny Dykes. The Horned Frogs went from No. 65 to No. 9 in scoring offense thanks to Riley’s efforts, as quarterback Max Duggan earned a trip to New York as a Heisman finalist.
Like his older brother, USC coach Lincoln Riley, Garrett has a long history of using the Air Raid offense … but with a few wrinkles. Riley worked under his brother for two years as a graduate assistant before joining fellow Texan David Beaty at Kansas. He later spent a year learning Appalachian State’s system with current Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz and was set to take over the play-calling duties under Shawn Clark before Dykes fired him to lead the SMU offense to success. big.
“I am honored and excited to join the Clemson family,” Riley said. “The opportunity to join a program with such a rich tradition and such a storied culture was just too good to pass up. I have always had tremendous respect for Coach Swinney and the program he has built. I I am grateful for the trust that he, Graham Neff, the Clemson administration and the entire Clemson community have placed in me.”
Riley’s hiring is a departure for Swinney, who has historically relied on internal candidates to fill openings. Former offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter — a longtime Clemson assistant and player — was fired Thursday just one year after earning the promotion from quarterbacks coach to playmaker. Previous offensive coordinators Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott were also internal promotions. 247Sports reports that Scott will return to the program after South Florida axed him, but Swinney opted to leave for an offensive coordinator and limit Scott to an outfield role.
“As the head of this program, I’m responsible for our staff and responsible for our results, and although we took a step forward offensively in 2022, after taking a deep look at our offense, I felt it was in the best interest of our program. . to seek new leadership at that position,” Swinney said in a statement. “These decisions are never easy, but it’s my job to evaluate and evaluate every part of our program every year, and this was the right time for make a difference”.
Streeter was Clemson’s quarterbacks coach from 2015-21, which saw him develop stars like Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawerence — both of whom were drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. However, the offensive numbers dropped significantly in 2021 and were better — but not good enough — this past season. The Tigers finished sixth in the ACC in passing offense in 2022 with 232.4 yards per game and ninth in yards per pass attempt (6.8).
Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei took much of the blame for the Tigers’ inability to stretch the field deep, and he was ultimately replaced by true freshman Cade Klubnik in the ACC Championship game win over North Carolina. However, Clemson’s offensive struggles hardly ended at the quarterback position. Clemson’s leading receiver, Antonio Williams, had just 604 receiving yards. That’s a far cry from what Clemson produced in its glory days with studs like Amari Rodgers, Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross. But more troubling, Clemson has lost six games over the past two seasons, its worst two-year stretch since 2012.
Firing Streeter is a 180-degree change from the coach’s typical methodology. Swinney has been extremely loyal to his assistants, as he also promoted Wes Goodwin to take over the defense after Brent Venables left to take the coaching job at Oklahoma. The method dates back to 2014, when Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott were promoted to co-offensive coordinators when Chad Morris left to take over at SMU. When Scott and Elliott left to take coaching jobs, Streeter got his chance.
However, Swinney has a strong history with outside coordinator hires. Morris was a Texas high school coaching legend with just one year of collegiate experience, but he helped transform the Tigers into a perennial 10-win program before taking over at SMU. Venables left as defensive coordinator at Oklahoma but joined Clemson and immediately established himself as one of the best assistants in football. He later returned to Norman in 2022 to replace Lincoln Riley.