Garrett Riley hasn’t coached a down of football in a regular-season game yet for the Clemson Tigers.
But one national website believes he’s already poised to be a candidate for a head coaching job as early as 2024.
Clemson’s new offensive playcaller, who left TCU following its runner-up finish for the national championship, tops the list of CBS Sports’ coordinators to watch in 2023.
Here’s what they said about Riley:
At 33 years old, Riley is a rising star tasked with revitalizing Clemson’s offense in his first season with the Tigers. If he can pull it off, he’ll find himself in the mix for Power Five head coaching jobs. Riley spent the last three seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Sonny Dykes at SMU and TCU, and he also spent time as a quarterback at Texas Tech under Mike Leach. In case those connections aren’t enough, Riley is also the younger brother of USC coach Lincoln Riley. With such strong ties to other successful coaches and a blossoming track record of his own, Riley is poised to become one of the sport’s biggest names in the years ahead.
CBS Sports’ list also included Michigan DC Jesse Minter, Miami OC Shannon Dawson, Washington OC Ryan Grubb, Maryland OC Josh Gattis, and Oklahoma OC Jeff Lebby.
Riley was hired by Dabo Swinney in January to run the offense and coach quarterbacks after the Tigers’ head coach fired OC Brandon Streeter. Clemson ranked 99th in 2021 under Tony Elliott and 48th in 2022 under Streeter in total offense.
Swinney felt like the Tigers needed a new direction, and Riley’s run-heavy Air Raid scheme fit was Swinney was looking for in 2023.
Riley helped TCU rank 27th nationally in total offense and ninth in scoring while creating the third-most plays of 20+ yards in college football on the Horned Frogs’ way to the College Football Playoff.
Getting Clemson back to the CFP for the first time since 2020 would likely draw attention from schools looking for new head coaches by the end of this season. Lincoln Riley told AllClemsonTigers.com in an exclusive interview earlier this year that his brother Garrett isn’t in a hurry to get there.
“I think he’s more concerned with being in the right situations with the right people, having chances to have success and you keep doing that and you do a good job in the roles that you’re at, those opportunities will show up,” Lincoln Riley said. “So he’s not worried about that right now. He wants to do the best job for Clemson that he can. I can promise you that that will be his only focus.”
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