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Update on LSU's coaching search, where coaching stars continue to draw interest

Two years removed from a national title, LSU is seeking Ed Oregon's replacement - and aiming high, sources tell FootballScoop

It's been four weeks since LSU fired Ed Orgeron, less than two years after Orgeron led the Tigers on an historic march to the College Football Playoff national title.

Since that time, Orgeron has kept recruiting for the LSU program, as have the program's remaining staffers, but they've also lost three-straight games to Ole Miss, Alabama and Arkansas during that span – the latter two setbacks coming by a combined nine points and one overtime-game against the Razorbacks.

So where does LSU's search for Orgeron's replacement rest?

Mel Tucker remains a significant person of interest for the Tigers, per sources with direct knowledge, but the second-year Michigan State coach also is being courted to remain atop the Spartans' program.

Tucker's MSU team is 9-1 with games left at No. 4 Ohio State and home to close the regular season against Penn State, which is slumping badly amidst a stretch of four losses in five games. 

Aside from Tucker, LSU is said to be closely working to see if there's a path with a pair of Power 5 coaches with either national championship or College Football Playoff pedigrees.

A source Sunday told FootballScoop that LSU continues to see if there's interest from Jimbo Fisher in a reunion with his former boss, Scott Woodward, who hired Fisher to his present post at Texas A&M, as well as a return for Fisher to LSU.

Fisher has seven years' experience as the Tigers' offensive coordinator, spanning the Nick Saban era on the bayou as well as the program's transition to Les Miles. Fisher was part of LSU's 2003 national championship staff under Saban's direction.

Fisher's present deal at Texas A&M, amended at the onset of the 2021 season, pays Fisher more than $100 million guaranteed across the life of the contract, but also carries absolutely zero buyout penalty.

As one industry expert said, “You always have to listen. But he legit has the greatest coaching deal probably ever, so they (LSU) would have to make it somehow better.”

The other potential LSU candidate continuing to be discussed for the LSU job is Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley. Scott Woodward knows a Riley hire would bring a new found level of excitement to the Bayou. 

Multiple current Power 5 assistants in recent days have told FootballScoop that Riley's name continues to circulate among the industry and within coaching circles.

Now in his fifth season atop the Oklahoma program, Riley is 54-9 overall leading the Sooners – though he is 0-3 in the CFP and coming off a 27-14 loss to Baylor.

Per public documents, Riley is signed with the Sooners through the 2025 season after receiving an extension during summer 2020 that pays him an average of more than $7.5 million per year.

Lastly, James Franklin, Lane Kiffin and Billy Napier are three additional names that bear monitoring in conjunction with the LSU post.

Franklin has past experience and success in the SEC; Kiffin is taking his current Ole Miss program to remarkable heights, and, per a source in the state, “Napier is absolutely loved in this state by the (high school) coaches.”

Nittany Lions coach James Franklin remains a potential candidate at University of Southern California, though sources tell FootballScoop that Franklin does not currently seem to be the Trojans' top candidate.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest coaching news.