Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is dunked with sports drink by linebacker James Skalski (47) and linebacker Baylon Spector (10) with corner back Mario Goodrich (31) after the game at Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina Saturday, November 27, 2021.  Clemson won 30-0.

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Report: Clemson DC Brent Venables, Oklahoma nearing deal

Oklahoma is closing in on a deal to hire Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables as its head football coach, ESPN reported.

His hiring could become official as early as Sunday, per the report. He would replace Lincoln Riley, who accepted the head coaching job at Southern California.

Venables has been mentioned as a candidate for previous plum head coaching jobs, including at Florida State and Auburn, but declined to pursue them. Instead, he chose to remain at Clemson, which won national championships in 2016 and ’18 and where his two sons are on the roster.

But Venables has ties to Oklahoma, which could have convinced him now is the time to move on. He was the co-defensive coordinator from 1999-2003 and the DC from 2004-11. The Sooners’ most recent national championship came in 2000.

Venables, who turns 51 this month, won the Broyles Award in 2016 as the nation’s top assistant coach.

He began his coaching career as linebackers coach at his alma mater Kansas State in 1996.

Entering the 2021 season, Venables had been part of a team with a winning record each season and had coached in 29 bowl games. Clemson finished this season 9-3 (6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) and is awaiting its bowl invitation.

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