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Lincoln Riley to LSU? For $12 Million a Year? He Said It's 'Nothing,' But Reports Continue to Surface

The Oklahoma Sooners coach said there's "nothing to handle" when it comes to rumors about his connection to the LSU Tigers.

Even thought Lincoln Riley said there was “nothing” to the rumors about him being connected to the opening at LSU, another report to the contrary surfaced Wednesday.

Jake Crain, who hosts “The J Boy Show” podcast and YouTube channel, cited an unnamed source today that said Riley “has been offered” an eight-year contract worth $96 million to coach the Tigers.

Crain also said the source told him it was “not likely that Oklahoma would match” the offer, and that Riley would try to bring quarterback Caleb Williams with him through the NCAA Transfer Portal.

“Caleb Williams would go to LSU with Lincoln Riley, if he chooses to do so, which, from what I’m being told, is very likely,” Crain said on his YouTube stream.

“And again, things can change.”

College football insider Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported Wednesday that he's hearing Riley leaving OU for LSU is "not gonna happen."

Williams, from Washington, DC, took an official visit to LSU as a high school recruit and had the Tigers in his final three schools along with OU and Maryland.

He eventually chose OU, he said, to be coached by Riley, and his father Carl Williams told SI Sooners that his son was willing to walk on at OU even if Georgia quarterback Brock Vandagriff had stayed committed to the Sooners. Vandagriff decommitted on Jan. 1 and then picked Georgia, and then Williams committed to the Sooners on July 4.

Riley was asked during his weekly press conference on Tuesday if he or his representatives had had any contact with LSU and what it was like to handle that in the middle of a season.

“There’s nothing to handle,” Riley said, without directly answering the first part of the question.

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“It’s pretty easy. I coach the University of Oklahoma football team. You guys know how I feel about this place and this program. We’ve all been down this road many times before. You guys know where I stand on that and that hasn’t changed.”

On Tuesday, ESPN sideline reporter Tom Luginbill said during an interview on ESPN Radio affiliate WZZN in Huntsville, AL, that Riley going to LSU “makes sense” although he later said it was just a “gut feeling” and deleted a tweet he had posted about Riley to LSU.

Riley, now in his fifth season as head coach at Oklahoma, is 54-9 with four consecutive Big 12 Conference championships.

The Muleshoe, TX, native and Texas Tech alumnus is currently the fifth-highest paid head coach in college football at $7.672 million. He’s under contract through 2025 and is scheduled to make $8.05 million in 2021 thanks to a retention bonus of $500,000. He’ll get $7.565 million next year, and then $8.275 million in 2023, according to the terms of his contract.

Riley also currently has a $25.2 million buyout for termination without cause, per USA Today. His voluntary buyout was reported in 2019 to be 22.5 percent of the current value of his contract. That current figure is undisclosed.

The reported offer from LSU would pay him $12 million a year, which is more than Alabama’s Nick Saban, who gets $9.75 million in 2021.

LSU paid Ed Orgeron $9.01 million this year, second nationally behind Saban. Orgeron and LSU parted ways earlier this season.

Lincoln Riley’s annual salary

  • 2017: $3.1 million
  • 2018: $4.8 million
  • 2019: $6 million
  • 2020: $6.15 million
  • 2021: $8.05 million*
  • 2022: 7.565 million
  • 2023: $8.275 million*
  • 2024: $7.585 million
  • 2025: $7.585 million
  • CURRENT DEAL: Six years, $45.21 million

* includes respective stay bonuses of $500,000 and $750,000