Jul 27, 2021; Hollywood, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans head coach Clay Helton speaks with the media during the Pac-12 football Media Day at the W Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Georgia Southern expected to name Clay Helton head coach

Georgia Southern is expected to hire Clay Helton as its next head coach, Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday.

Southern California fired Helton, 49, on Sept. 13 after the Trojans got off to a 1-1 start. He had a 46-24 record as the interim and head coach over parts of eight seasons in Los Angeles.

Georgia Southern, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, fired Chad Lunsford on Sept. 26 four games into the season. The Eagles were 1-3 at the time.

Yahoo said the deal with Helton could be finalized this week. He would start immediately performing behind-the-scenes duties, such as recruiting and building a staff for 2022. Interim coach Kevin Whitley would remain as the on-field coach for the rest of the season.

The Eagles are 2-6 (1-4 Sun Belt) on the season and have lost three straight.

Georgia Southern is in its eighth season as an FBS school and has a 52-44 record in that span. As a Division I-AA (FCS) school, it won six national titles, most recently in 2000.

At USC, Helton’s teams posted records of 10-3 in 2016 and 11-3 in 2017. However, the Trojans were just 19-14 since the end of the 2017 season at the time Helton was replaced.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans head coach Clay Helton and Stanford Cardinal head coach David Shaw shake hands after a game at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Calls for firing of USC coach Clay Helton emerge after loss to Stanford

Clay Helton has been on and off the hot seat during his first six seasons as head coach at Southern California, but he’s managed to keep his job.

But after the No. 14 Trojans lost 42-28 to Stanford at home on Saturday, the calls for his firing erupted on social media, including from a former USC star.

“I’m so pissed , I can no longer FIGHT ON for Him ….. Period embarrassing,” wrote Keyshawn Johnson, who played two seasons at wide receiver at USC before the New York Jets took him No. 1 overall in the 1996 NFL Draft.

Johnson once was one of Helton’s fiercest supporters, calling for his promotion from assistant coach before his hiring.

Matt Leinart, USC’s quarterback a decade after Johnson’s era, was in Columbus, Ohio, working for FOX Sports and watched No. 12 Oregon drop No. 3 Ohio State. He tweeted his criticism of the Trojans early Sunday.

“This is just bad. I saw Oregon today up close and personal and they would drop the hammer on SC,” Leinart wrote about the two Pac-12 foes. “Two programs going in different directions.”

The Trojans are 46-24 in the Helton era but only 19-14 since back-to-back seasons with double-digit wins in 2016 and ’17. They have not won a bowl game since the Rose Bowl following the 2016 season.

Fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum seemed to echo the sentiments of Johnson. Boos rained from the crowd throughout the game, and fans even booed the 49-year-old Helton during his halftime television interview.

And the longtime Helton critics piled on via social media, too.

“Sometimes a really ugly home loss is just what a program needs, if you know what I mean,” tweeted national media personality Colin Cowherd. “In fact a couple more hopefully does the trick.#USC.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 29, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; General overall view of the 2017 Cotton Bowl logo on the back of the helmet of Southern California Trojans long snapper Jake Olson at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Top recruit Domani Jackson commits to Southern Cal

Five-star cornerback Domani Jackson, the nation’s third-ranked prospect in the 2022 class, is staying close to home to play college football.

Jackson, a standout from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., said he will attend Southern California, marking the second straight year the Trojans have received a commitment from the state’s top prospect.

Jackson chose the Trojans over Ohio State, Clemson, Michigan and Arizona State, among others.

Earlier Saturday, however, Mission Hills, Calif., linebacker Niuafe Tuihalamaka decommitted from the Trojans. Tuihalamaka is the third-ranked ILB in the class of 2022, per 247Sports’ composite rankings.

Jackson’s commitment is a major boost for coach Clay Helton, who signed the nation’s 54th-ranked recruiting class this cycle, which included just one ESPN 300 commitment — receiver Gary Bryant.

Southern California initially had the commitment of Bryce Young, the nation’s top-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2020 class, but he decided to enroll at Alabama, where he just completed his freshman season.

However, USC signed nine ESPN 300 recruits in the 2021 class, including Korey Foreman, a five-star defensive end. The Trojans are also in the mix for highly-regarded linebacker Raesjon Davis, who is uncommitted.

Jackson’s commitment gives the Trojans two top players in the 2022 class, along with cornerback Fabian Ross. Jackson is rated No. 3 overall by 247Sports’ composite rankings.

–Field Level Media