On Monday of this week, the news broke that the USC football program had fired their head coach, Clay Helton, just two weeks into the season and after six seasons with the program. The Trojans are getting a head start in the process of searching for a new head coach and it begs the question of if Georgia's defensive coordinator, Dan Lanning, could become a serious candidate for the position.
Lanning joined the Georgia football program in 2018 as the team's outside linebacker coach and then was promoted to defensive coordinator the very next season and has held that position ever since. Since taking over Georgia's defense, it is no secret that Lanning has done an impeccable job at both recruiting and coaching for Georgia.
According to ESPN, Georgia in 2019 finished 4th in total defense, 12th in 2020, and currently sits at the top of the list in 2021 in all of college football. In short, Lanning has consistently had a stout defense year in and year out since becoming the team's defensive coordinator in one of the league's most elite conferences.
With all of the success that Lanning continues to have, it has led to him being tied to numerous potential head coaching gigs in recent years. Just last year there was a lot of buzz about Lanning becoming the new head coach at Texas prior to their hiring of Steve Sarkisian and there was also talk about him becoming the head coach for the Kansas Jayhawks due to him being born out west and the ties that he has in that region of the country.
He's not the number one target on the board in USC's athletic administration, in fact he's likely pretty far down the list. But with names like Urban Meyer already scoffing at the idea, Iowa State's head coach Matt Campbell having a track record of turning down $10m per year in the NFL, and names like James Franklin constantly turning down opportunities such as this, it won't be long before the list of coaching includes a name like Lanning's.
So, will Dan Lanning be getting a call from the University of South California? History would say yes, there is of course a very strong possibility that Lanning could be a potential candidate to be the next head coach for the Trojans. However, history would also tell you that despite all of the opportunities that Lanning has had to get his shot at being a head coach that he still remains loyal to Georgia.
Kirby Smart stuck around at Alabama as Nick Saban's defensive coordinator for seven seasons until he found the perfect opportunity for him to take on the task of being a head coach. Lanning could be doing the very same thing Kirby did and not just waiting for any head coaching opportunity to come around, but waiting for the perfect opportunity for him to make the jump.
Could USC be that perfect opportunity? Possibly, and when you're as good of a coach and recruiter as Dan Lanning is you're more than likely going to be a possible target for any head coach vacancy. Whether or not Lanning would take the position at USC if offered is still a mystery, but there is no doubt that the Georgia defensive coordinator could become a potential candidate for the position.
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