Garrett Riley is potential game-changer for Clemson football as OC

Clemson football won the ACC championship in 2022, yet the Tigers have taken a step back as a college football power but hiring Garrett Riley as OC has game-changing potential.

Garrett Riley is a rising star in college football coaching and after winning the Broyles Award while helping to coach TCU to the College Football Playoff in 2022, he’s going to try and bring a dynamic offense back to Clemson football. 

Riley was formerly a Texas Tech quarterback, so he’s got a long history in the air raid system that was perfected and made famous by the late, great Mike Leach.

When Sonny Dykes wound up at SMU, Riley was his offensive coordinator and called plays in 2020 and 2021 when the Mustangs posted top-15 offenses in college football.

This past season under Riley, TCU had the best offense in college football and as quarterbacks coach, he helped Max Duggan finish as the Heisman Trophy runner-up.

For Clemson football, it’s a huge addition. The Tigers have floundered on offense the past couple of seasons and things only got worse after the departure of Tony Elliott to Virginia.

So Dabo Swinney acted by firing offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter on Thursday and hiring Riley, who happens to be the younger brother of USC head coach Lincoln Riley, on the same day. Here’s what Dabo said about the move via CBS sports:

“As the leader of this program, I am accountable for our staff and accountable for our results, and though we took a step forward offensively in 2022, after evaluating our offense in-depth, I felt it was in the best interest of our program to seek new leadership at that position,” said Swinney in a statement. “These decisions are never easy, but it is my job to evaluate and assess every part of our program every year, and this was just the right time to make a change.”

A potentially huge move for Clemson football

With Cade Klubnik showing plenty of promise in the ACC championship game, the Tigers have a promising future on offense. A new OC could also help with recruiting and having an OC with ties to the state of Texas is never a bad thing.

Beyond that, it’s clear that Dabo knows his offense needs more out of the quarterback position. The Tigers just saw a five-star transfer because he wasn’t very productive and the same thing can’t happen with Klubnik.

Clemson football is also in the mix for five-star talents Jadyn Davis and Dylan Raiola in the 2024 recruiting class and this addition is only going to help with those efforts.

The defense and running game have been on a championship level the past two seasons for Clemson football — the quarterback play hasn’t been and that needs to change and Garrett Riley could be the man to make the Tigers relevant again offensively.

And if the offense is anything like it was at TCU, it could be a move that gets the Tigers back into the College Football Playoff.