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Lincoln Riley: USC going to be the 'Mecca of college football'

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Lincoln Riley promised during his introductory press conference Monday that USC will become the "Mecca of college football."

"I can promise you that you're going to get the best out of myself, you're going to get the best out of our staff, out of our players, and we're going to put something on that field that you're proud of," Riley said.

"This place is going to be full, this is going to be the Mecca of college football."

Speaking for the first time since his stunning move from Oklahoma to USC, Riley explained that the process "came together quickly," according to The Athletic's Stewart Mandel. He said he learned about the Trojans' interest late Saturday night before hopping onto a video call with the school Sunday morning.

Riley built an illustrious resume over a five-year tenure as the Sooners' head coach, collecting four Big 12 championships while posting a 55-10 record.

The 38-year-old got emotional when thanking his former program, calling the departure "the toughest decision" of his life, according to Adam Grosbard of The O.C. Register.

"Everything (about USC) intrigued me," Riley said. "The location, the history of the program, the opportunities here to recruit and build a national championship roster, the opportunity for my family to live in a new place, to experience new things.

"We're not scared to take a jump. This was the right time. Everything about it makes sense," Riley added.

He also confirmed that Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch will be following him to USC.

Riley will be tasked with returning the Trojans to prominence. USC hasn't won a Pac-12 title since 2017 and fired Clay Helton two games into the 2021 campaign.

Athletic director Mike Bohn expressed his excitement in his new coach Monday, proclaiming "this sleeping giant is wide awake."

"It was never our goal to change the landscape of college football with one of the biggest moves in the history of the game, but we did exactly that," Bohn said, according to Paolo Uggetti of ESPN.

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