USC Trojans Head Coach Lincoln Riley Drawing Interest From NFL Teams

Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

When Lincoln Riley made his way from Norman to Southern California to become the next USC Trojans head coach, national championship aspirations were in the cards.

Riley had brought star quarterback Caleb Williams with him from Oklahoma. Other transfers and top recruits followed suit.

Fast forward two years, and the only thing USC has to show for Riley’s arrival is Williams winning the Heisman Tropy following the 2022 season. The team was a disastrous 7-5 this past regular season with its defense being torched.

Now, could we be looking at Riley moving on to greener pastures for the second time in as many years? According to Bleacher Report NFL insider Jordan Schultz, multiple professional teams are interested in Riley as a head coach.

“I was at the NFL owners meetings in Dallas last week and one of the questions I had for certain teams was who was going to be the big NFL coaching candidates,”Schultz noted. “(Riley) was one of the names I heard in Dallas. And really over the last week or so.”

To be clear. Riley has been linked to NFL openings dating back to his days with the Sooners. This is nothing new.

The number of high quality players who have entered the transfer portal from USC could add even more layers to this speculation. That includes former five-star recruit, quarterback Malachi Nelson. Is there something brewing in Southern California in this regard?

Related: 2024 USC Trojans Transfer Tracker

Lincoln Riley Would Be Attractive For Los Angeles Chargers, Other Teams

usc head coach lincoln riley to the nfl
Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, the Chargers’ decision to fire head coach Brandon Staley after last week’s humiliating blowout loss to the Las Vegas Raiders will lead to speculation about Riley.

Whether it was Kyler Murray or the aforementioned Caleb Williams, Lincoln Riley has worked wonders with quarterbacks in the college ranks. What is to stop him from doing the same thing with Chargers franchise signal caller Justin Herbert?

The Las Vegas Raiders and Carolina Panthers are also going to have openings this coming offseason. Vegas will be looking for a quarterback of the future. Could there be a packaged deal with Riley and Williams in a potential trade-up scenario in the 2024 NFL Draft? Carolina has former No. 1 pick Bryce Young at quarterback.

We’re also going to likely see other head coach openings with the New England Patriots, Washington Commanders and Chicago Bears once January comes calling. Lincoln Riley would obviously be a top candidate for those teams, too.