Sports Illustrated's Peter King reported today that sources close to Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio confirm that he will not pursue the job of USC's head coach.
The USC alum was said to have been offered the job following Carroll's assumed resignation. Rio only had a year left on his contract and the move, by many accounts, would have been a smart one.
The defensive-minded coach has spent seven years in Jacksonville and, while he has never taken a shot at coaching at the collegiate level, it would appear that he has all the tangibles necessary to be successful at that level.
USC now faces a dwindling cast of potential candidates and has no time to waste as National Signing Day is only three weeks away. With Del Rio out and Steve Sarkisian an unlikely prospect, the Trojans are forced to look elsewhere.
The list seems ever-changing as each new day comes and goes, but for now, the popular names are Oregon State's Mike Riley, Boise State's Chris Peterson, Stanford's Jim Harbough, and the NFL Tennessee Titan's Jeff Fisher.
ESPN reported today that USC is also in close contact with former San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci.
Riley, a former Bear Bryant player, has coached in the NFL and spent time at USC as an assistant to former offensive coordinator John Robinson. He is familiar with the USC program and has provided adequate competition to the powerhouse for the last decade.
Peterson is widely recognized as one of the most cerebral coaches in mid-major conference history, leading his Broncos to two bowl wins and a 49-4 record. As a former assistant coach at Oregon, he also holds roots in the PAC-10.
Harbaugh is more of a long shot than the others, but his experience in the PAC-10 and coaching pedigree could become a factor in USC's consideration of him.
Fisher's career in Tennessee has become weak of late, but a late run at the end of the '09 season may have been just enough for him to retain his head coaching position. It appears Fisher will return to the Titans sidelines next year and not the Trojans'.
Mariucci is a newly named prospect but his credentials in West Coast football don't need to be mentioned. He amassed a .594 record in six years at San Francisco and, while a stint in Detroit proved to be utterly unsuccessful, his coaching career in general was fraught with an unmatched understanding of the game.
USC, with their powerful program and long list of verbal commitments for the 2010 season, has their options for the head coach position. Now, all they have to do is pick one.