Scott to Remain at Clemson through the College Football Playoff
For the first time since the final game of the 2014 season, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney will face the challenge of replacing an offensive coordinator.
Sources confirmed to Clemson Maven/Sports Illustrated on Monday morning that co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott will become the head coach at USF, barring a last-minute change. Scott will become the fifth head coach in USF history.
Scott is expected to stay with the Tigers through the postseason.
Known as an elite recruiter, Scott was a finalist for the 2018 Broyles Award as one of the nation’s top assistant coaches. He was named by Rivals as one of the 25 best recruiters in college football in 2015 and as ACC Recruiter of the Year by 247Sports in 2018.
Scott helped develop a number of talented wide receivers at Clemson, including NFL first-round picks DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Williams and Sammy Watkins. Under his tutelage, the Tigers’ offense has topped 4,000 yards passing and 3,000 yards rushing twice in the past five seasons (2015 and 2018), the only seasons in school history to do so.
Swinney, according to sources, already had a contingency plan ready in the event one of his coordinators left the program. That plan likely involves moving quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter to the co-coordinator role vacated by Scott, and possibly promoting former wide receiver Tyler Grisham to become the Tigers' 10th full-time assistant.
Streeter is no stranger to the duties of offensive coordinator. Six of the seven teams he worked with as an offensive coordinator between the 2008-14 seasons finished the year in the top 25 of the FCS poll. That included the 2014 Richmond team that entered the FCS playoffs ranked No. 16 in the nation. Five of the last eight teams were conference champions or co-champions, and Clemson has finished in the top two in each of his three seasons.
Streeter guided Richmond to a top-20 finish in passing offense each season from 2012-14. That included a 314-yard average, eighth-best in the nation, in 2014. The Spiders also averaged 461 yards per game, 19th-most in the nation, and were second in third-down conversion percentage (51.6) and third in first downs (332).
Scott is expected to take his father Brad with him to serve in an advisory capacity.
Brad Scott, a USF graduate, is in his 21st year with the Clemson program, including his ninth as an assistant athletic director. He moved into administration in 2011 after 12 years as an assistant coach from 1999-10. His 12-year tenure, which included supervising the offensive line, is tied for the ninth longest for an assistant coach in the program’s history.
The elder Scott works primarily with the football program in various administrative duties, but he has department wide responsibilities when it comes to serving as a liaison between Clemson and high schools in securing documents needed to gain admission.
Update: USF makes the hire official
TAMPA, Dec. 9, 2019 – USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly today announced his selection of Jeff Scott to lead USF football as the fifth head coach in program history.
Scott will be introduced to the university and Bay area community on Wednesday on the USF campus. Details on the introductory press conference will be forthcoming.
Co-offensive coordinator at Clemson since 2015 and a member of the football staff at his alma mater since 2008, Scott has been a key part of the rise of one of the most dominant football programs in the nation. He has helped lead the Tigers to their fifth straight College Football Playoff appearance in 2019, three CFP Championship game appearances (2015, 2016 & 2018 seasons) and national titles in the 2016 and 2018 seasons. Clemson scored 21 fourth-quarter points to defeat Alabama, 35-31, in the CFP National Championship game on Jan. 9, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to claim the program's first national title in 35 years.
"Jeff is a very bright, enthusiastic and driven leader for our program and we are thrilled to welcome him to USF and back to Florida, where he was born and where he has recruited so well for Clemson for many years," Kelly said. "He is a young and extremely gifted offensive mind, a developer of high-level talent and an elite national recruiter who brings the experience of having played an integral role from the beginning in helping to build one of the most successful programs in college football. We are thrilled that he and his wife, Sara, and their daughter, Savannah, are joining our Bulls family and will be part of the exciting future of USF football."
In his fifth season serving as co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach in 2019, Scott helped Clemson claim its fifth straight ACC title and improve to 13-0 on the year with a 62-17 ACC Championship game victory over Virginia in which the Tiger posted 619 yards of offense. Wide receiver Tee Higgins was named the game MVP after posting nine receptions for 182 yards and three touchdowns. Clemson will enter its CFP semifinal matchup with Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 28 ranked No. 3 nationally in total offense (547.7 ypg) and No. 4 in scoring offense (46.5 ppg).
"I have great respect for the USF football program and what has been accomplished in a very short time and can't wait to get to work building on that foundation to produce a championship program," Scott said "I am thankful to President Currall and Michael Kelly for this tremendous opportunity and their support and belief in me. It is difficult to leave my alma mater and the great program we have built at Clemson, but I believe we can do great things at USF. I am thankful to Coach Swinney and all the Clemson players and staff for the great experiences and lessons that have prepared me to lead USF football. Go Bulls!"
Born in Arcadia, Fla., Scott has been a key figure in recruiting the talented student-athletes that have led Clemson's ascendance to the top of college football. He took over as Clemson's recruiting coordinator in December of 2008 and served in that role until 2014, leading the Tigers to top 10 ranked classes in his first season of 2009 and also in 2011 and 2012. Continuing as an elite recruiter while taking on coordinator duties, he has been named a top 10 recruiter nationally by ESPN.com (2014), a top 25 national recruiter seven times by Rivals.com (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) and the ACC Recruiter of the Year in 2015 by Rivals and in 2018 by 247Sports.
"I am delighted to welcome Jeff Scott to the University of South Florida community," USF President Steven C. Currall said. "We seek to attract top talent across our entire University, and Coach Scott fits that profile as one of college football's most promising coaches. He brings national championship-level experience to USF from a very successful, highly regarded football program. I congratulate Michael Kelly for his leadership throughout the search process, and I am confident about the future of USF football under the direction of Coach Scott."
A 2018 Broyles Award finalist as the top assistant coach in the nation, Scott has been exceptional at guiding student-athletes to record-setting success. He became Clemson's wide receivers coach midway through the 2008 season when Dabo Swinney took over as interim head coach and then added co-offensive coordinator duties under Swinney in 2015. The Tigers have posted a 129-30 record and reached a bowl game in each of his 12 seasons on the staff, including 32 wins over top 25 ranked teams and 15 over top 10.
Since becoming co-offensive coordinator alongside Tony Elliott starting with the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Oklahoma, the Tigers have gone 69-4 (38-2 in the ACC) with just two regular season losses and posted the three winningest seasons in program history (2018 (15-0), 2015 (14-1), 2016 (14-1)). During that span, Clemson has averaged 40.3 points and 503 yards per game, gaining 6.6 yards per play while Tigers quarterbacks completed 66.3 percent of their passes.
In the last five seasons, the Clemson offense has averaged better than 500 yards per game four times and set 138 team and individual records, including marks for total offense (2018, 527.2 ypg), scoring offense (2018, 44.3 ppg), passing offense (2016, 5,009 yards), rushing offense (2018, 3,723 yards) and total touchdowns (2018, 90). The top three total offense seasons in program history, all over 7,500 yards, have come with Scott as co-offensive coordinator, as have the top three scoring seasons, all with 577 points or better. Clemson produced the fifth 4,000-yard passing season in school history in 2018 and it joined the 2015 season as the only seasons in school history to feature 4,000 passing yards and 3,000 rushing yards.
Eight wide receivers Scott has coached were on 2019 NFL rosters. Included among the standouts he coached at Clemson are Bay area products, Ray Ray McCloud, Deon Cain and Artavis Scott (All-ACC, 2014-16). He also coached Fort Myers, Fla., product Sammy Watkins, a two-time All-American who set school season records for receptions (101), receiving yards (1,464) and touchdowns (12) in 2013 and career marks for receptions (240), receiving yards (3,391) and receiving touchdowns (27) before being selected in the first round NFL Draft. Under Scott, DeAndre Hopkins earned second-team All-America honors before being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft and going on to make three Pro Bowl appearances. More recently, Scott has coached Mike Williams (All-ACC & Second Team All-American, 2016) and Hunter Renfrow (2018 Burlsworth Trophy winner) among many outstanding student-athletes.
Scott served as head coach at Blythewood (S.C.) High School (2005-06) and won a 3A state title in the first year the program fielded a varsity team. He entered the college ranks as wide receivers coach at Presbyterian College in 2007 before returning to Clemson as a graduate assistant in 2008.
Scott graduated cum laude from Clemson in 2003 with a degree in mathematics, having earned President's List recognition with a 4.0 grade-point average in 2001 and 2002. He went on to earn a master's degree in education instruction technology from American Intercontinental University (2005).
He was a three-year letterman at wide receiver at Clemson (2000-2002) and was named the Outstanding Senior Male Athlete and recipient of the Athletic Director's Excellence Award. The Tigers reached three bowl games during his time as a player.
Scott and his wife, Sara, have a young daughter, Savannah.
Statement from Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney:
I first want to thank Jeff Scott for a wonderful 12 years. I'm happy for him and his wife, Sara, and his daughter, Savannah, and I’m so appreciative of all their family has meant to us over the last 12 years. We're going to miss them tremendously.
Operationally, Jeff will be serving as the head coach at USF for the next week before rejoining us the latter part of next week and remaining with us for the duration of our College Football Playoff run. Our team is excited that he'll have the opportunity to finish our 2019 season with us.
Jeff has been with me since day one when I became interim. He's somebody I trust immensely and he's extremely loyal. He's been patient for the right opportunity, and I think this is that right opportunity. He’s got a great AD in Michael Kelly. It's a great fit for Jeff and I know that he's well-prepared to take this next step and has all the tools he needs to be a great head coach.
It's been a real joy to watch Jeff grow and develop and work side-by-side with him. He's done an amazing job representing Clemson, representing the program, coaching our wide receivers and coordinating our offense. His leadership has been a big part of our success, and we will always appreciate his contribution to our program.