Harrell Sunday story on USC

North Texas offensive coordinator Graham Harrell works with players during a 2016 spring practice at the Darrell R. Dickey Football Practice Facility.

North Texas offensive coordinator Graham Harrell interviewed to take over in the same capacity at Southern California on Sunday as head coach Seth Littrell’s coaching staff continued to undergo a makeover.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed that Harrell is interviewing with USC. Those sources described to the Denton Record-Chronicle on Sunday where the situation with UNT’s staff stands.

Harrell had not accepted the job as of late Sunday afternoon, those sources said.

The former Texas Tech quarterback’s name has come up in connection with several openings for offensive coordinators throughout the offseason, including those at North Carolina and Oklahoma State.

Harrell was an original member of Littrell’s staff at UNT and has helped spark the Mean Green’s dramatic turnaround over the last three years. Littrell took over a program that won just one game in 2015 while averaging 15.2 points per game.

UNT has played in bowl games in each of the last three seasons while improving its offensive output. The Mean Green averaged 34.6 points per game last season.

While Harrell had not accepted the job as of Sunday afternoon, he appeared to be the leading candidate at a time USC is scrambling to find an offensive coordinator.

Former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury agreed to take over USC’s offense in early December. He turned around a month later and accepted an offer to become the Arizona Cardinals head coach.

USC appears to have focused on Harrell as Kingsbury’s replacement.

Harrell is a Texas high school football legend from his time at Ennis and was also a standout quarterback at Texas Tech. His performance at UNT has continued to elevate his reputation in college football.

Harrell arrived at UNT at the same time as Mason Fine, a lightly recruited quarterback from Oklahoma. Harrell helped turned Fine into one of the most prolific passers in the country.

Fine will enter his senior season as the leading active passer in college football with 9,417 yards.

If Harrell does depart for USC, it would leave Littrell with three openings on his staff. Running backs coach Tashard Choice left UNT to take over in the same capacity at Georgia Tech.

Cornerbacks coach Nate Brown also left the staff at the end of last season.

UNT is in the final stages of hiring coaches to fill both openings.

Those hires are expected to be announced this week.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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