TAMPA, Fla — Jeff Scott wanted the USF job when Willie Taggart left Tampa for Oregon in 2016. He won't get passed over for a second time.
South Florida has officially hired Scott, choosing the Clemson co-offensive coordinator over a number of candidates, including Taggart. Scott will take over for Charlie Strong, who was fired earlier this month.
“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 in a statement. “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!”
Scott will be introduced to the university and the Bay area on Wednesday. An introductory press conference will be scheduled for this week as well.
“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,” USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly said in a statement. “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.”
A Florida-native, Scott has been with the Tigers since 2008, and helped lead Clemson to a pair of titles, including the National Championship over Alabama in 2017, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Scott's contract was released Tuesday, with five years at $9.5 million.
Strong was let go after a disappointing 2019 season. He lost 14 of his last 18 games over an 18-month span.
Here's 5 things to know about the fifth head coach in Bulls program history:
1. He has family ties to USF
Scott grew up in Aracdia, Fla. His father, Brad Scott, has a degree from USF and was an offensive coordinator on Bobby Bowden's Florida State staff, helping lead the Seminoles to a 1993 National Championship. Brad Scott has been with Clemson's program for the last 21 years and currently serves as the assistant athletic director.
2. Scott was an ace recruiter in the Tampa Bay area
Artavis Scott, Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud III were blue chip high school prospects from the Tampa Bay area this decade that Scott helped lure to Clemson.
Scott, out of East Lake High School, broke Clemson's school record with 245 career receptions.
A Tampa Bay Tech alum, Cain is tied for fourth in Clemson history in receiving touchdowns (20).
As for Sickles' McCloud III, Hillsborough County's all-time leading rusher, he excelled both on offense and special teams for the Tigers, totaling 1,031 all-purpose yards in 26 career games.
All three are currently playing in the NFL.
In 2018, Scott was named the ACC Recruiter of the Year by 247Sports.
3. He's developed a lot of NFL talent at receiver
Speaking of Sunday's, Scott is an elite talent developer, especially at receiver. He's credited with helping develop three NFL first-round picks: DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams. He also coached former Buccaneers receiver Adam Humphries, as well as Martavis Bryant and Hunter Renfrow.
In 2011, Scott coached arguably one of the top receiving duos in college football history, in Watkins and Hopkins. Watkins was named the national freshman of the year after catching 82 passes for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns. Hopkins had 72 receptions for 978 yards and five scores.
4. Under Scott's guidance, Clemson's offenses have been among the nation's elites
USF is hoping to boost its offensive prowess and Scott seems to be just the guy for the job.
The Tigers have ranked in the Top 15 for total offense in four of the past five seasons, including No. 3 this year, at 547.7 yards per game.
Clemson has made the College Football Playoffs each of the last five seasons.
Scott, along with co-OC Tony Elliott, have a 69-4 record together since taking over the Clemson offense in 2014.
5. He'll likely coach Clemson during their Playoff run
While Scott will want to get a jump on recruiting at USF before next weeks' early-signing period on Dec. 18, I'd be surprised if he didn't stay on to coach the Tigers in the College Football Playoffs later this month.
It's not rare for a newly-hired coach to balance duties this time of the year and Scott will certainly have time to recruit at USF while game-planning for the Tigers' semifinal match up with Ohio State on Dec. 28.
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