Kiel McDonald, who just closed his fifth season at Utah as the Utes capped off a Pac-12 championship season in the Rose Bowl, is the new running backs coach for Lincoln Riley at USC, multiple sources tell FootballScoop.
McDonald, a former cum laude graduate of Sacramento State and Colorado native, had on Sunday posted a goodbye letter to Utah, its players and fans but had not declared his next destination.
However, sources told FootballScoop that McDonald to the Trojans “is a done deal.”
It’s a big hire for Riley, who gets one of the Pac-12’s most respected coaches and a direct rival’s key assistant in the process.
McDonald also has experience in the NFL from an coaching internship with the San Francisco 49ers, as well as previous stops at Sacramento City College, Eastern Washington and another Pac-12 program, Arizona State.
The Utes, with McDonald coaching their running backs, have consistently been among the league’s and nation’s more punishing running attacks. McDonald’s first three seasons at Utah saw him help current NFL running back Zack Moss to a trio of 1,000-yard campaigns.
Utah had more than 225 rushing yards in Saturday’s captivating, 48-45 loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
In addition to getting a key technician, Riley also adds in McDonald a strong recruiting presence for the Trojans as they rebuild and reload. McDonald had been among Utah’s most effective recruiters in his five seasons with the program, and he was noted as well for helping Eastern Washington in its consistent climb to FCS power.