College football fan bases are always looking for the “next big thing” in the coaching market, especially if their team is underperforming at any particular moment. With that in mind, Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports took a glance at the top five up-and-comers in the profession and it is a valuable resource for any fan or program with wandering eyes.
At the top of the list, Fornelli went with Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley.
“Lincoln Riley is about to begin his 15th season as a college football coach. He began in 2003 as a student assistant at Texas Tech, and he moved up from there, finishing up as a wide receivers coach for three years with the Red Raiders. After that, he left to become East Carolina’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for five years. That job is what led to Riley getting the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach gig at Oklahoma before the 2015 season, and now he’s preparing for his third season with the Sooners.
This is where I mention that Lincoln Riley is only 33-years old, and he’ll turn 34 shortly after the 2017 season begins.”
As Fornelli notes, Riley is incredibly young and that could be the only reason he is currently in a non-head coach position. Still, the impressive job he did in 2016 with Oklahoma was exceedingly noteworthy. There is no reason to think he won’t be able to duplicate that with Baker Mayfield back in 2017 and, if that happens, it is safe to assume that Riley will be getting calls for jobs all over the country.
There are other contenders, including Alabama’s Jeremy Pruitt and LSU’s Dave Aranda, but Riley just might be the right answer at the top of the heap.