Today we learned that the University of South Florida has hired Clemson Co-OC Jeff Scott as their next head coach. Scott, a Florida native, has been at Clemson since 2008 when he joined the staff as a graduate assistant. Once Swinney was named head coach he became the WR coach and recruiting coordinater. Along with Tony Elliott, Scott was named Co-OC in 2014 after the departure of Chad Morris for SMU. At that time he also gave up his recruiting coordinator role to current QB coach Brandon Streeter.
Dabo Swinney confirmed this evening that Scott will be staying with Clemson through the playoffs. But even then there will be some sort of arrangement where Scott will no longer be recruiting for Clemson. The new Early Signing Period means Scott will need to recruit for USF immediately and Clemson will need to identify Scott’s replacement so that he can start recruiting.
Of course the other big question is going to be if Scott takes anyone from the staff with him to South Florida. Scott is going to need an OC and a DC in particular. It wouldn’t be surprising if he pulls one or two coaches with him to fill those roles. Other position coaches could be filled by current offensive and defensive analysts on staff as well.
For Clemson this is a big loss. Regardless of what Scott did or did not do when it came to playcalling, Scott is the second or third best recruiter on this staff. His work as recruiting coordinator early in his tenure as well as his ability to land elite talent helped vault Clemson into the current 5 year run. Scott’s ability isn’t something we are going to replace overnight, especially if the rumors about an internal replacement are true.
Clemson has a few options when it comes to Scott’s replacement. The rumor right now is that Brandon Streeter will be elevated to a Co-OC role while retaining his QB coach role. This would leave Dabo with having to find a new WR coach. The two internal names that have come up are offensive analysts Kyle Richardson and Tyler Grisham. An external candidate could be former Clemson WR and current WVU coach Xavier Dye.
Whomever comes into the role is likely going to take on the recruiting coordinator role and have to get up to speed quickly. Personally I’d prefer Dye just to bring in someone that has experience recruiting and coaching receivers. I also think it is a good idea to bring in fresh blood that can offer a new perspective to the coaching staff. Group think can be extremely dangerous and this seems like a great opportunity to bring in someone familiar with the Clemson culture but who also has experience elsewhere.
One final thing to note, current commits. As of now Clemson’s current class should be fine. We haven’t heard anything that would indicate these guys would waver because Scott leaves, but you can bet other coaching staffs are going to be trying to get them to consider their options. Scott’s departure doesn’t mean guys would look at South Florida, but it could mean they consider other schools. Hopefully everyone is secure in their commitment, but it is something to monitor.