OC Graham Harrell, USC Agree to Reported 3-Year, $3.6M Contract Extension

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2019

A USC helmet sits on the bench in the second half, during a game against BYU at an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/George Frey)
George Frey/Associated Press

Graham Harrell is staying put.

The USC Trojans announced they signed their offensive coordinator to a contract extension and shared a message from Harrell:

USC Trojans @USC_Athletics

USC OC @CoachHarrellUSC is just getting started. #FightOn https://t.co/vAk79BLlCh

According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, the extension is for three years and $3.6 million.

USCΒ hiredΒ Harrell in January after Kliff Kingsbury left to become the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals before he coached a single game as the Trojans' offensive coordinator. Harrell, who played in four games for the Green Bay Packers during the 2012 season, was previously the offensive coordinator at North Texas.

This move resonated beyond just the Trojans.

Chip BrownΒ of 247Sports noted Harrell was a candidate to become the next offensive coordinator at Texas after head coach Tom Herman removed Tim Beck from the role. Harrell and Herman apparently even met to discuss the position, but the former was concerned about how involved the latter would be in the offense.

What's more, Harrell is close with USC head coach Clay Helton, and the program's decision to keep him influenced the offensive coordinator's decision, per Brown.

Harrell returns after an up-and-down season for the Trojans. They started 3-3, lost marquee contests against Washington, Notre Dame and Oregon but impressed down the stretch with three straight wins. The offense was particularly effective against archrival UCLA during a 52-35 victory and will be put to the test in the Holiday Bowl against a stout Iowa defense.

The offense was also put into a difficult situation when starting quarterback JT Daniels suffered a season-ending knee injury. Backup quarterback Kedon Slovis also missed time with a head injury, though he threw for four touchdowns and more than 400 yards in four of his last five games.

Harrell's return will provide some stability moving into the bowl game and then a new season, and the Trojans will look to keep their late-year momentum rolling.