Heupel has yet to sign a contract with Utah State. The move would unite him with Aggies coach Matt Wells, who also has significant ties to the state of Oklahoma. A product of Sallisaw, Okla., Wells visited Heupel three years ago after Wells was promoted to offensive coordinator at Utah State.
Wells used principles from that trip to assemble the Aggies’ fast-paced, spread offense that has been instrumental in their bowl wins the past three seasons.
Heupel, 36, was let go from Oklahoma earlier this month after spending nine seasons there as an assistant, the last four as the play-caller. Under him the Sooners ranked in the FBS’ top 20 in scoring offense in three of the last four seasons, including 20th this fall with an average of 36.4 points per game.
Entering the Sooners’ regular-season finale on Dec. 6, Heupel ranked fourth over the last four years in points per game (37.4). He sat behind only former Baylor offensive coordinator and new Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery, Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher.
During Heupel’s first five seasons as an assistant at his alma mater, Oklahoma, he coached quarterbacks. Before that he was the tight ends coach at Arizona in 2005 and a graduate assistant for the Sooners from '03-04.
The Aberdeen, S.D., native was also a beloved quarterback for Oklahoma who led coach Bob Stoops to his only national title in 2000. Heupel was the Heisman Trophy runner-up that season.
The 41-year-old Wells is one of college football’s brightest young minds and turned down opportunities this coaching cycle to leave Utah State, his alma mater, for jobs at higher-profile programs. He has a 19-9 record in two years as the Aggies head coach, including an impressive 10-4 mark in 2014 despite having to play five different quarterbacks because of injuries.