Oklahoma State fans hold up newspapers with a picture of former OU football coach Lincoln Riley during Oklahoma's introduction before a Bedlam basketball game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022.

Bedlam Basketball

Lincoln Riley asserts he didn’t poach Oklahoma players

New Southern California coach Lincoln Riley said Tuesday that he didn’t bring any players from Oklahoma with him to Los Angeles — he got them from the transfer portal.

Riley made the comments during an interview on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.”

Cowherd asked Riley if it was sensitive bringing OU transfers Caleb Williams, wide receiver Mario Williams and cornerback Latrell McCutchin to the Trojans.

Riley agreed that it was, but that he didn’t.

“We didn’t take players from Oklahoma. We took players from the transfer portal,” Riley told Cowherd. “Those players and their families had to make a decision to either stay at that university, just like any other player has to make, or to enter the portal where then they can be recruited by anybody in the country. That’s up to those players and their families and we have nothing to do with that.

“But once a player gets into a portal where they are open to any school in the country, we would be crazy not to take a look at and try to help our football team,” Riley went on. “All of a sudden they were good enough for us to take at Oklahoma, but now we wouldn’t give them a chance just because we’re in a new spot? That part never really made sense to me.”

Caleb Williams took over the starting job six games into the 2021 season under Riley at OU and finished the season with 1,912 passing yards and 21 touchdowns against four interceptions. Williams rushed for another 442 yards, scoring six touchdowns.

When he first entered the portal, Williams’ father, Carl Williams, said the quarterback “doesn’t have a destination” picked out.

Mario Williams, who is unrelated to Caleb, caught 35 passes for 380 yards and four TDs as a freshman in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Helmets sit on the field before an NCAA football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. Oklahoma won 28-24. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

Another blue-chip prospect decommits from Oklahoma

DeAndre Moore Jr., one of the top wide receivers in the Class of 2023, decommitted from Oklahoma.

The four-star prospect is the sixth player from the class to decommit from the Sooners since former coach Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma in late November to take the head-coaching job at Southern California.

Six more players in the Class of 2022 also decommitted since Riley’s exit.

Moore plays at talent-rich Los Alamitos High School, just about 25 miles from USC, so a reunion with Riley there could be in the offing. Already a pair of five-star high school teammates — quarterback Malachi Nelson and wide receiver Makai Lemon — switched their commitments from the Sooners to the Trojans.

The 6-foot, 185-pound Moore announced his decision Monday on Twitter.

“Sooner Nation has been nothing short of great and I’m thankful for the love all of you showed,” he posted.

“With that being said, I am reopening my recruitment and de-committing from The University of Oklahoma.

Moore is ranked as the No. 4 wide receiver and No. 48 overall player by the 247Sports composite.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Brenden Rice (2) carries the ball in the second quarter against the Oregon State Beavers  at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

WR Brenden Rice, son of Jerry Rice, transfers to USC

Former Colorado wide receiver Brenden Rice, the son of legendary receiver Jerry Rice, announced Tuesday that he will transfer to Southern California.

Rice grabbed 21 receptions for 299 yards in 2021, the Buffaloes’ second-leading receiver in both categories. He led Colorado with three receiving touchdowns.

In two collegiate seasons, Rice has recorded 27 catches for 419 yards and five touchdowns. He was a three-star recruit coming out of high school.

USC hired Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley last month, leaving the Trojans to rely on the transfer portal to build a new recruiting class. Riley enticed one of his former Sooners, wide receiver Mario Williams, to transfer to USC.

He also flipped Class of 2022 running back Raleek Brown, Class of 2023 quarterback Malachi Nelson and 2023 wide receiver Makai Lemon — all five-star recruits in 247Sports’ Composite rankings — from the Sooners to the Trojans.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) talks with head coach Lincoln Riley before the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler leaving, 6 commits change mind

Quarterback Spencer Rattler said Monday he’s transferring from Oklahoma, and six high school recruits also have decommitted from the program since head coach Lincoln Riley announced he accepted the same job at Southern California.

The announcement from Rattler — who opened the season as the Heisman Trophy favorite and later was benched — was not unexpected. But now, just 16 days before the early national signing period begins, Oklahoma finds itself down three commits from the 2022 class and three more from 2023.

Bowing out of their 2022 commitments are linebacker Kobie McKinzie and offensive lineman Demetrius Hunter, both from Texas, as well as defensive lineman Derrick Moore from Baltimore. The 247Sports composite ranks all three in the top 20 at their positions.

The hits are even more significant in the 2023 class for the Sooners.

Quarterback Malachi Nelson, the No. 2 quarterback and No. 2 player in the nation, decommitted and could follow Riley to USC. He’s a local product from Los Alamitos, Calif., and behind only Arch Manning — nephew of Peyton and Eli — in the player rankings.

Also backing off the pledge to Oklahoma were a pair of Floridians — Brandon Inniss, the No. 1 wide receiver and No. 9 player in the 2023 class, and running back Treyaun Webb, who is ranked No. 5 at his position and No. 96 overall.

“In light of the recent events and changes, my family and I believe it’s best if I de-commit from OU at this time,” Nelson posted to Twitter. “I want to thank all the Sooner fans for the relentless love and support they’ve shown.”

In his statement posted to Twitter, Rattler made no specific mention of Riley, instead simply stating he’d be entering the transfer portal to pursue his academic and athletic career elsewhere.

“Sooner Nation: Thank you for allowing me to be a student-athlete at this prestigious institution,” he wrote while briefly thanking teammates and coaches. “We won several games together and made memories that I will cherish forever.”

“Thank you again, Oklahoma,” he ended his statement. “I will miss you.”

Rattler, an Arizona native, started all 11 games as a redshirt freshman in 2020 and was a first-team All-Big 12 selection. He threw for 3,031 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

In the Oct. 9 game against Texas, however, he was benched and never regained his starting job.

He will have three years of eligibility remaining, though he also is eligible to enter the NFL draft in 2022.

–Field Level Media

OU coach Lincoln Riley says he was out Tuesday dealing with a personal matter.

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Southern Cal hires Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma

Lincoln Riley, the accomplished head coach at the University of Oklahoma, is leaving the Sooners to become the next head coach at Southern California, per multiple media reports.

Riley informed his staff Sunday.

Riley, 38, excelled as an assistant coach at Texas Tech and East Carolina before being hired as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator in 2015. He inherited the top job at the Oklahoma program when former coach Bob Stoops retired in June 2017.

The Sooners rolled to a 12-2 record and the College Football Playoff in his first season, losing to Georgia in the semifinals at the Rose Bowl 54-48 in double overtime.

Oklahoma made two more playoff appearances during his tenure and won four straight Big 12 championships, as Riley accumulated a 55-10 record in five seasons.

Riley led the Sooners to a 10-2 record and third-place finish in the Big 12 in 2020.

The Trojans job came open when USC athletic director Mike Bohn fired Clay Helton on Sept. 13, two days after Southern Cal was wrecked 42-28 by Stanford, which is now 3-9.

Helton went 46-24 at USC, with multiple seasons of double-digit wins, but the program had slipped in recent years. USC is just 4-7 this year.

The move comes as a bombshell in the sport, not only because of its high-profile nature, but also because Riley had cut off questioning about a potential move to LSU Saturday night by saying in part, “I’m not going to be the next coach at LSU. Next question.”

Those LSU rumors ended up being a smokescreen for this move, with USC not being listed as a likely destination for Riley during its own head coaching search.

ESPN is reporting that Oklahoma will pursue Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury for its vacancy.

–Field Level Media

Seth McGowan played in eight games for the Sooners last season as a freshman, rushing for 370 yards and three touchdowns.

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WR Trejan Bridges, RB Seth McGowan out at Oklahoma

Wide receiver Trejan Bridges and running back Seth McGowan, suspects in an alleged armed robbery, won’t be returning to the Oklahoma football team, coach Lincoln Riley confirmed.

“They’re not members of our program anymore,” Riley said Thursday. “We wish them the very best going forward.”

Police in Norman, Okla., said last week that they were investigating the players in connection with an alleged armed robbery on April 15. In searching Bridges’ apartment the following day, they discovered a Glock .45-caliber handgun, loaded magazines, a bag of what appeared to be marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to a police affidavit obtained by The Athletic.

No charges have been filed.

Oklahoma announced the suspension of two unidentified players on April 16.

According to the affidavit, the alleged victim said McGowan sent him a message via social media asking to buy marijuana from him but was refused. The alleged victim said McGowan then came to his apartment, followed by Bridges and another man, and Bridges hit him with a gun, kicked him and threatened to kill him. The third man ransacked a bedroom and stole a backpack, per The Athletic.

Both Bridges (Class of 2019) and McGowan (2020) were four-star recruits coming out of high school in Texas, according to the 247Sports composite.

In 15 games over two seasons with the Sooners, Bridges caught nine passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. McGowan had 571 total yards and scored four touchdowns in eight games as a freshman.

–Field Level Media

Dec 7, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooner head coach Lincoln Riley talks with quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) during a timeout from the game against the Baylor Bears in the 2019 Big 12 Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley is Eagles’ top target

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley is a trusted confidant of Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. According to reports, they could also share a workspace in the near future.

Riley was contacted by the Eagles on Monday as Philadelphia dismissed head coach Doug Pederson, according to multiple reports.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie fired Pederson after he compiled a 46-39-1 in five seasons, including winning Super Bowl LII.

Riley’s specialty is offense and his expertise is quarterbacks. He groomed current Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts in one season with the Sooners, this after helping Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray each win the Heisman Trophy and get drafted No. 1 overall in back-to-back years.

Riley, 37, has been on the NFL radar before. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called Riley “intriguing” and hoped to bring him in prior to hiring Mike McCarthy last January, but Jones said talks never moved off of home plate.

Much like Riley’s predecessor at OU, Bob Stoops, convincing the coach to leave Norman, Okla., will not be easy. Oklahoma is likely to be a top five team in college football again next season and current Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler is a Heisman candidate. Oklahoma (9-2) finished at No. 6 this season and is 45-8 in four seasons under Riley.

It is not known whether Roseman and Riley have had detailed discussions, including how Riley might walk the line between Hurts and Carson Wentz, who is championed by management and under contract at franchise QB salary numbers.

Lurie’s concerns reportedly included Pederson’s plan to fix an offense that underperformed in 2020, the future at the quarterback position and the makeup of the coaching staff.

Pederson reportedly preferred to fill the offensive coordinator role with Press Taylor, the team’s 32-year-old quarterbacks coach. ESPN reported Lurie wanted the position filled from outside the organization.

The Eagles’ offense ranked 24th in the NFL in yards per game (334.6), 26th in scoring (20.9 points) and 28th in passing yards (207.9). Pederson removed Wentz as the starting quarterback after 12 games and replaced him with the rookie Hurts.

–Field Level Media