For almost a week, it seemed everybody was talking about Kliff Kingsbury and USC except the offensive mastermind and his top suitor.
Wednesday morning, the worst-kept secret in college football became official. Kingsbury, the former Texas Tech head coach, removed any reference to his old employer from his Twitter profile page and added “USC Trojans” and “#FightOn”. He set his location to Los Angeles and switched his profile pictures to a shot of him in a chic slim-fit suit and a photo of the sun setting over a Southern California pier.
USC followed with a news release announcing Kingsbury as the Trojans’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and billing him as “one of college football’s top offensive minds who has produced explosive offenses and developed prolific quarterbacks.”
“We are very excited to welcome Kliff to the Trojan Family,” USC coach Clay Helton said. “He is a brilliant offensive mind and is on the cutting edge of the game today. His offenses have consistently been at the top of the college football statistical rankings. With the talent on our team, along with his leadership and coaching, I truly believe that we can take our offense to new heights.”
USC’s release emphasized Kingsbury’s impressive mentoring of future NFL quarterbacks including first-round picks Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield and Johnny Manziel.
While touting the exploits of Kingsbury’s teams in the passing game using the “Air Raid,” USC also made sure to mention that in four of his six seasons at Texas Tech the Red Raiders rushed for at least 140 yards per game.
What Kingsbury’s system will look like at USC will be the biggest storyline of a crucial offseason for the Trojans coming off a 5-7 season in which they finished 91st in scoring offense at 26.1 points per game.
He’ll have plenty of weapons at his disposal in quarterback JT Daniels, running backs Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepeai and wide receivers Amon-ra St. Brown, Michael Pittman Jr. and Tyler Vaughns — all the type of blue-chip talent that Kingsbury struggled to recruit to Lubbock, Texas, the last six years while competing with Texas, Texas A&M, TCU and Baylor within the state.
Kingsbury, 39, was rumored to have interest from NFL teams during the last week, too, including a potential position with the Rams.
Wednesday’s news that Kingsbury to USC was official made its way to Rams coach Sean McVay, who finished his news conference by saying, “And I’ve got enough hair gel for me and Kliff Kingsbury.”
The Rams tweeted a video of McVay’s one-liner to USC’s official account, which responded, “It’s on!”