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USC Poaching UCLA Defensive Coordinator D’Anton Lynn, per Report

A porous defense doomed a USC team with College Football Playoff aspirations to a 7–5 record in its second year with Lincoln Riley on the sideline and 2022 Heisman winner Caleb Williams under center. According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Riley has found the coach to revamp his struggling defense in 2024, and he didn’t have to leave Los Angeles to do it.

USC is finalizing a deal with UCLA defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn to lead the Trojans defense. The Bruins defense is 16th in the nation in 2023, averaging 18.1 points allowed per game, and 11th in total defense, allowing an average of 299 yards.

UCLA coach Chip Kelly greets USC coach Lincoln Riley after the 2023 rivalry game.

USC coach Lincoln Riley is hiring defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn away from UCLA and Chip Kelly, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel.

The Trojans are 123rd in both categories nationally, allowing 34.9 points and 438.8 yards per game. Riley parted ways with DC Alex Grinch in early November, after the team surrendered 52 points to Washington. 

Lynn, the 34-year-old son of 49ers assistant head coach Anthony Lynn, has risen quickly through the coaching ranks. The former All-Big Ten Penn State defensive back entered coaching in 2014, after a brief pro career with the Jets and CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He served as an assistant with the Bills, Chargers, Texans and Ravens before entering the college ranks in 2023 with UCLA. He spent his first season as a defensive coordinator at any level under Kelly this fall.

USA Today lists Lynn’s 2023 salary with UCLA at $1.02 million, making him the 51st-highest paid assistant in the country among those with publicly available salary information, and the highest-paid assistant on the Bruins staff. As a private school, USC’s assistant coach salary information is not known.

UCLA beat USC 38–20 on Nov. 18. Both teams will play in the Big Ten conference beginning next season.