Matt Leinart Heard Matt Campbell Would Be USC HC 'Day Before' Lincoln Riley Hire

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 1, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Fox college sports anchors Matt Leinart and Urban Meyer a college football game between the Utah Utes and The USC Trojans on September 20, 2019, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

USC landed Lincoln Riley as its next football head coach, but Iowa State coach Matt Campbell was apparently also a top candidate for the job.

Former USC quarterback Matt Leinart broke down the situation with the Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday:

Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow

"USC made it a point to get a lot of feedback from former players such as myself.. I was shocked when they got Lincoln Riley because I heard days before it was gonna be Matt Campbell" ~<a href="https://twitter.com/MattLeinartQB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MattLeinartQB</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PatMcAfeeShowLIVE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PatMcAfeeShowLIVE</a> <a href="https://t.co/nk938Mc11Z">pic.twitter.com/nk938Mc11Z</a>

"I was shocked, to be honest with you," Leinart said. "I thought it was going to be Matt Campbell. I was hearing the rumors the day before that Matt Campbell was probably the guy."

Leinart said he discussed the opening with USC officials, who also reached out to former players Carson Palmer, Willie McGinest, Marcus Allen and Ronnie Lott, among others, to discuss what they wanted in the next coach.

Riley joins USC with an impressive resume after going 55-10 across five seasons with Oklahoma. He has never lost more than two games in any year as a head coach and has consistently produced some of best offenses in college football.

It was clear the Trojans moved quickly to hire the 38-year-old with Campbell obviously on the radar.

Campbell has a 77-48 career record as a Division I coach, including a 42-33 mark in six years at Iowa State.

The production is even more impressive considering he took over a team that went six straight years without a winning record before he arrived in 2017, including three straight seasons with three or fewer wins. The Cyclones have now clinched their fifth straight season with a winning record in 2021.

Campbell could remain a top candidate for other openings around the country, including recently vacated positions at Oklahoma and Notre Dame.