COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has hired TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley to reignite the Tigers’ attack.
The school’s board of trustees compensation committee approved a three-year contract Friday that will pay the 33-year-old Riley $1.75 million per season.
Swinney hopes the move invigorates an offense that had slipped the past two seasons since Clemson’s last College Football Playoff berth in 2020.
It’s the first time Swinney has gone outside his current staff for a coordinator hire since bringing in Oklahoma’s Brent Venables to lead the Tigers’ defense before the 2012 season.
If Riley can have the impact Venables did from the start, it could spark an group that finished 30th nationally in scoring and 48th in total offense this past fall.
“Garrett has an incredible track record,” Swinney said in a statement. Riley helped TCU finish ninth in scoring offense and get the Horned Frogs from a five-win team in 2021 to the national championship game this season.
“His body of work,” Swinney said, “speaks for itself.”
Swinney cleared the way for Riley when he fired long-time staffer and first-year offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter on Thursday.
Streeter’s offense helped the Tigers through a perfect ACC regular season and a 39-10 victory over North Carolina in the championship game to win their seventh league title in eight seasons. But Clemson was seventh in the league at 404 yards per game and struggled notably in a 35-14 loss at Notre Dame in November and a 31-14 defeat to Tennessee at the Orange Bowl last month.
Swinney said after a deep-dive into the offense, “this was just the right time to make a change.”
Riley will receive a $300,000 signing bonus. His contract also calls for bonuses of $10,000 for reaching ACC championship game to $100,000 if Clemson wins the national championship and the offense is ranked among the top five nationally.
“The opportunity to join a program with such a rich tradition and renowned culture was simply too good for me to pass up,” said Riley, the brother of Southern Cal coach Lincoln Riley.
Riley thanked TCU coach Sonny Dykes, the Horned Frogs players, staffers and fans, saying the past season’s run created a “lifetime of memories.”
Riley, who’ll also coach quarterbacks, should have a talent-rich QB room to deal with. Cade Klubnik, who took over for two-year starter DJ Uiagalelei in the ACC title game, will be a sophomore while Chris Vizzina, ranked by ESPN.com as the nation’s seventh best quarterback, signed with the Tigers in December.
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