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College Football insider believes Lincoln Riley will eventually leave USC Trojans for NFL job

Lincoln Riley

USC Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley has already proven to be one of the best coaches in college football. While there are still some unfulfilled goals on his resume, the rising star of football is already attracting the attention of NFL teams.

Riley, age 40, left the Oklahoma Sooners near the end of the 2021 season to take over at USC. He brought quarterback Caleb Williams with him and the pair have enjoyed immediate success. Not only are the Trojans in the College Football Playoff picture, but Williams has joined the list of USC’s Heisman Trophy winners and the third-year quarterback is leading the Heisman Watch.

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In 2023, Williams is viewed as the consensus best player in the 2024 NFL Draft class and remains projected to be the unanimous No. 1 overall pick next year. While there hasn’t been an overwhelming amount of buzz suggesting Riley will follow him to the NFL, some clearly believe it will eventually happen.

During an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman explained why he thinks Riley will eventually leave the Trojans behind to become an NFL head coach.

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“I think at some point, down the road, I think he will coach in the NFL. That’s my own personal opinion, he’s never told me that, but that’s my gut. I think he’s a guy who, I think, is obsessive when it comes to Xs and Os. I think you see that translate in a lot of guys, whether its Mike McDaniel or Shanahan or McVay.”

Bruce Feldman on the possibility of Lincoln Riley coaching in the NFL

NFL teams are already interested in Riley. The former Texas Tech quarterback and assistant coach has quickly climbed the coaching ladder and is now viewed as one of the best offensive minds in football. Thanks to both his playcalling and his ability to mentor and develop quarterbacks, he’s an ideal fit for any rebuilding NFL team in a position to draft a franchise quarterback or he could land with a team that has already has one in place.

Of course, landing Riley will be difficult. He’s helped turn USC back into a perennial contender and is one of the highest-paid coaches in the nation. Furthermore, Riley’s multi-million dollar mansion is covered by the school and boosters help provide him with endless resources for both the football team and Riley’s personal life.

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In order for an NFL franchise to land Riley, it would likely need to make him one of the highest-paid coaches at the professional level with a salary that potentially exceeds $12 million per season. Any team that already has a franchise quarterback or would have the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft would likely have an edge in a bidding war for Riley.

While USC struck gold by hiring Riley as its head coach, the program knew he would eventually draw interest from the NFL. Once that happens, Riley can use the opportunity to either receive a raise from the Trojans or he can take the next step in his coaching career.

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