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‘The total package’: Riley dishes on why he chose to leave TCU for Clemson

Justin Robertson // Sports Editor

Clemson offensive coordinator Garrett Riley publicly spoke to the media for the first time on Feb. 1, 2023. 

Garrett Riley led one of the nation’s top offenses in 2022, but the opportunity to come to Clemson was too good to pass up for the Tigers’ new offensive play-caller.

After being officially named Clemson’s offensive coordinator on Jan. 13, Riley publicly spoke to the media, along with head coach Dabo Swinney, for the first time on Wednesday at the new Clemson Athletic Branding Institute.

While it wasn’t an easy decision for Riley to make, the choice to leave TCU and come to Clemson was well thought out in all aspects.

“The simple answer is the total package of what can get me away (from TCU),” Riley said. “I was very happy there. I had just gotten there — year one, unbelievable ride, unbelievable season. My family and my wife’s family is all from Texas. There’s all these connections and people we had worked with. We loved our colleagues there, and we loved our players.

“But it had to be something special like this. It’s the consistency here, it’s the stability, it’s the balance of life and enjoying it, and being happy and being in a small community like this that is very tight-knit. And then the place with a caliber of football that we expect Clemson to be playing. It had to be something that was going to check the box in all areas. People that know me know that I’m a very thoughtful person, and I’m going to think through things, hopefully from all angles. The more and more that we learned about it, and the more we talked, the more it just made sense.”

Swinney said he first got in touch with Riley the Tuesday after the national championship game between TCU and Georgia, and the two talked on the phone for a few hours. Two days later, Swinney officially moved on from Brandon Streeter, and Riley landed at Pickens County Airport hours later.

The 33-year-old did his due diligence before ultimately leaving TCU, but the decision was still a bit of a leap of faith.

“I did not have a ton of background or a whole lot of knowledge of Clemson and just how coach Swinney operates,” Riley said. “I tried to investigate a little bit, as much as I could, with people that I know that know coach a lot better than I do, and so that was important to solve as all of this unfolded to try and gauge that a little bit. But it’s been awesome since we started.”

Clemson’s Board of Trustees Compensation Committee officially approved a 3-year, $5.25 million contract for Riley back in January. 

He and the rest of the Tigers will start spring ball on March 6 and will have their spring game on April 15.

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Justin Robertson
Justin Robertson, Associate Editor
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