Lincoln Riley Defends USC's Transfer Moves: 'We Didn't Take Players from Oklahoma'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 8, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 12: USC Trojans head football coach Lincoln Riley attends the game between the USC Trojans and the Long Beach State 49ers at Galen Center on December 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Don't worry, Oklahoma fans.

It may seem like former head coach Lincoln Riley has convinced plenty of players to join him in departing the Sooners for USC, but that's not actually the case according to him. Instead, he has simply taken the players from the transfer portal.

"We didn't take players from Oklahoma," he said during an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd. "We took players from the transfer portal."

He continued, saying, "Once a player gets into a portal where they are open to any school in the country, we would be crazy not to take a look at that and try to help our football team."

Many Oklahoma fans won't necessarily lend Riley the benefit of the doubt when it comes to those comments considering he was under contract with the Sooners when he decided to leave for the Trojans.

Still, it should be noted he landed 13 players from the portal this offseason, 10 of whom did not come from Oklahoma. USC was just 4-8 last season and nowhere near ready to compete for a Pac-12 title, so Riley has wasted little time dramatically altering the roster as he looks to return the powerhouse back to its former glory.

That three of those transfers were high-profile players from Oklahoma added to the narrative Riley was taking players from the Sooners.

Quarterback Caleb Williams, wide receiver Mario Williams and cornerback Latrell McCutchin joined him with Williams potentially in position to compete for the Heisman Trophy during his first season in the Pac-12.

Williams took over the starting quarterback job from Spencer Rattler—who transferred to South Carolina this offseason—and finished the 2021 campaign by completing 64.5 percent of his passes for 1,912 yards, 21 touchdowns and four interceptions to go with 442 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

Unfortunately for Oklahoma, he will now build on those numbers for the same coach but a different school.