USC keeps offensive coordinator Harrell with multiyear deal

NCAA Football
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LOS ANGELES (AP)Offensive coordinator Graham Harrell is staying at No. 22 Southern California.

Harrell and the Trojans (8-4) have agreed to a multiyear contract extension, the school announced Monday.

The 34-year-old Harrell was a widely sought candidate for other top collegiate jobs after his sole season running the Trojans’ offense, including the open offensive coordinator position at Texas and some head coaching positions.

But Harrell elected to stay with USC and head coach Clay Helton, who will return next year for his fifth full season in charge.

”It’s a really special place, and we’ve built something really special here,” Harrell said in a video released by the school to announce his return. ”Excited to compete one more time with the team we have coming back at the Holiday Bowl . and moving forward, we’ve laid the foundation to compete for championships not only at the Pac-12 level, but at the national level. We’re excited to be here, and I can’t wait to continue what we started.”

The Trojans face No. 19 Iowa in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27.

Harrell is about to finish up a strong debut season running the USC offense for Helton, who hired him away from North Texas last winter after Kliff Kingsbury’s 34-day tenure in the job ended when the Arizona Cardinals came calling.

After Harrell installed his version of the Air Raid offense, the Trojans sharply improved their point production and offensive effectiveness this season despite being forced to use three starting quarterbacks.

USC is second in the conference with 463.5 yards per game and fourth with 32.5 points per game. The Trojans’ 344 yards passing per game also is second in the Pac-12 – and a 95-yards-per-game improvement on last season.

Harrell played a major role in the development of quarterback Kedon Slovis, the Pac-12 offensive freshman of the year. After taking over in the season opener when J.T. Daniels got hurt, Slovis set a school record for a freshman with 3,242 yards passing along with 28 TDs.

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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