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It isn't a matter of if Chad Morris will leave Clemson. It's a matter of when.
Until Chad Morris leaves Clemson, he’ll be a fixture in these sorts of stories, and with good reason. He is one of the best offensive coordinators in college football and a huge factor in the Tigers’ surge toward national prominence. Morris’ hurry-up, no-huddle offense has revitalized Dabo Swinney’s program: Clemson is 32-8 in his three seasons as offensive coordinator.
Clemson is one of just five schools nationally to average 40 points and 500 yards per game over the last two seasons. Last fall, Clemson averaged 507.7 yards and 40.2 points per game.
Clemson and Baylor are the only programs nationally to have a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver in each of the last two seasons.
Morris’ task will be tougher this fall. He must replace NFL first-round pick Sammy Watkins and third-round pick Martavis Bryant in the receiver corps, quarterback Tajh Boyd (the ACC’s all-time passing touchdown leader and No. 2 in career passing yardage) and tailback Rod McDowell, a 1,000-yard rusher.
But if Morris can achieve similar results with senior quarterback Cole Stoudt, a backfield by committee and a young but talented receiving corps led by junior Charone Peake, sophomore Mike Williams and a trio of freshman early enrollees, he’ll have his pick of jobs again. Morris makes $1.3 million annually and has no reason to jump for just any job.
He was runner-up to Kliff Kingsbury for the Texas Tech job in 2012, and last winter he was connected to the Louisville, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest jobs.
“I think you’ve got to look at it, there’s a huge commitment to winning in Clemson. From my deal, my contract, I’m in a situation, it’s going to have to be the right fit before it can happen,” he told me following the Texas Tech interview in 2012. “Just to say you’re a head coach, I have no desire to say I’m a head coach at wherever, I have no desire to do that. We’ve got a great situation here, we’re building something special and a great commitment to winning. That’s what’s happening.”
Still, Morris will be 46 years old in December and isn’t getting any younger. If the right dominoes fall this offseason, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him break out on his own.