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USF makes it official: Clemson’s Jeff Scott is new Bulls coach

The 38-year-old Florida native will be introduced on campus Wednesday.
USF announced Monday it has hired Clemson alumnus and Tigers co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott as its new coach. [JACOB KUPFERMAN  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
USF announced Monday it has hired Clemson alumnus and Tigers co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott as its new coach. [JACOB KUPFERMAN | ZUMAPRESS.com]
Published Dec. 9, 2019
Updated Dec. 10, 2019

TAMPA ― USF formally announced Monday that it has hired Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott as its fifth football coach.

Scott, who turns 39 on Dec. 28, will be introduced publicly Wednesday on the USF campus. Details of that news conference still are being finalized. He is expected to remain with the Tigers throughout their upcoming College Football Playoff run.

He replaces Charlie Strong, dismissed on Dec. 1 after losing 14 of his final 18 games as Bulls coach.

Related: Five things to know about Jeff Scott, expected to be named USF football coach

“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 (in Arcadia) and where he has recruited so well for Clemson for many years,” USF athletic director Michael Kelly said in a USF news release.

“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.”

The younger Scott, a married father of a 4-year-old daughter, was a backup receiver, kick holder and honors student at Clemson (graduating cum laude with a mathematics degree) before embarking on his own coaching life. For the last dozen years, he has coached the Tigers receivers, and has shared the offensive coordinator title with Tony Elliott since 2015.

Elliott calls the plays for Dabo Swinney, but Scott is heavily involved in the game-planning. In four of his five seasons as co-coordinator, Clemson has averaged at least 500 yards a game and has set 138 team and individual records.

During that half-decade, Clemson is 69-4 with two national titles.

The 2018 team, which went 15-0 and captured the school’s third national crown, set school marks for total offense (527.2 ypg), scoring offense (44.3 ypg), rushing yardage (3,723) and total touchdowns (90).

Additionally, the list of receivers he has mentored reads like an NFL draft tracker. Eight of his pupils were on 2019 NFL rosters, and his complete receiver roll call includes former bay area prep standouts Ray-Ray McCloud (Sickles), Deon Cain (Tampa Bay Tech) and Artavis Scott (East Lake); as well as two-time All-American Sammy Watkins, the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft.

“I think he’ll do well,” said Artavis Scott, most recently on the Chargers’ practice squad.

“He learned from one of the best in the game, Coach Swinney. He’s a good recruiter. If the kids buy into his system and stay disciplined, (USF) is going to do well.”

Artavis Scott is part of a veritable pipeline Jeff Scott has helped Swinney and Elliott establish from Florida to Clemson.

Related: Tampa Bay pipeline fuels Clemson Tigers’ rise

He has been named a top-10 recruiter nationally by ESPN.com (2014) and top-25 national recruiter seven times by Rivals. He was chosen as Rivals’ ACC Recruiter of the Year in 2015, and received the same honor three years later from 247Sports.

“I think he’s probably more kind of a player’s type of coach," said Tampa Bay Tech coach Jayson Roberts, who watched Jeff Scott and Elliott recruit Cain, and who assisted at a Clemson camp one summer.

“He’s one of the type of coaches where I could see how guys would get very attached to him. He’s not a guy that walks around with a big ego. Sometimes you have coaches that won’t even look in your direction unless you’re a certain caliber, and he’s not that at all, he’s kind of really down to earth.”

Jeff Scott becomes the second member of his immediate family to land a major college head coaching gig. His father, Brad, was offensive coordinator on FSU’s 1993 national title team before spending five seasons as coach at South Carolina. Brad Scott has a degree from USF.

“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,” Jeff Scott said in the news release.

"I am thankful to President (Steven) 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.”

Staff writer Bob Putnam contributed to this report.

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