Max Duggan prepping for future, not yet reflecting on TCU career

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

FORT WORTH, Texas — Max Duggan really hasn’t had time to reflect on his career at TCU, where the four-year starting quarterback’s final snap came in the national championship game. The Heisman Trophy runner-up hasn’t even stopped throwing while getting ready for the NFL combine and draft.

The beloved TCU quarterback, who has been in Southern California training since a few days after the national title game loss, was back in Fort Worth on Monday night for the presentation of the Davey O’Brien Award – whose namesake is the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner, when leading the Horned Frogs to an undefeated season and their only AP national title in 1938.

“It means so much to our program, for TCU, because we obviously understand what Davey O’Brien did for TCU, what he did for just college football,” said Duggan, the first TCU player to win the award given annually to a top quarterback. “There’s so much pride for that he did for our program, and building it up and setting a milestone for TCU programs to strive for.”

While Duggan and the Horned Frogs lost a lopsided national championship game to Georgia, they tied a school record with 13 wins by beating Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinal Fiesta Bowl.

“I probably haven’t even done a whole time of reflecting on what happened this season,” he said. “Obviously we’re disappointed what happened in the national championship game. … But that doesn’t take away from the special season that we had as a program, to be able to share that with players, coaching staff, our fans, the city of Fort Worth and TCU. People are going to remember this season for a long time.”

Even though he still had another season of eligibility available after starting 43 games for TCU, Duggan decided after extended conversations with his family and coach Sonny Dykes that it was the right time to make himself available for the NFL draft. He graduated from TCU’s business school in December.

Duggan was at the Senior Bowl and now is among several draft prospects working in California with former NFL quarterback Jordan Palmer. The NFL combine starts next week, before TCU’s pro day at the end of March and the draft in late April.

Most draft projections have Duggan being a late-round pick on the third and final day. That doesn’t bother him.

“You’ve just got to have one team that, you know, falls in love with you, that likes your game, likes you as a person, what you do on and off the field. And I think that’s what really matters in my eyes,” he said. “I understand I’m not one of the top guys.”

Four former Big 12 quarterbacks started games in the NFL playoffs this season, including both Super Bowl starters: MVP Patrick Mahomes of the champion Kansas City Chiefs, and Heisman Trophy runner-up Jalen Hurts for the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles. The others were seventh-round draft picks last year.

Former Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson started a playoff game for Miami. Former Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy, the very last player selected in the draft, was the starter for San Francisco as the 49ers made it to the NFC title game.

“I’ve been able to compete the last couple of years with Brock, Skylar and Jalen. To see them go have success, you see what type of league that the Big 12 is,” Duggan said. “I think you’ve seen them, whether they are kind of picks towards the end of the draft, they seem to have success, so it’s been fun to watch them.”

Kendal Briles returns to Big 12 as TCU offensive coordinator

Alabama v Arkansas
Getty Images

FORT WORTH, Texas — Kendal Briles is headed back to the Big 12 as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at TCU, leaving Arkansas after three seasons.

The former Baylor assistant takes over for Garrett Riley. The younger brother of Southern California coach Lincoln Riley is taking over play-calling at Clemson.

Briles served under his dad, former Baylor coach Art Briles. The elder Briles was fired in 2016 because of allegations of sexual assault by football players.

Kendal Briles was a finalist for the 2015 Broyles Award, which goes to the nation’s top assistant coach, in his first season as Baylor’s offensive coordinator. He stayed on for another year after Art Briles was fired.

TCU will be Kendal Briles’ fifth stop as an offensive coordinator since leaving Baylor. He served in that role for one season each at Florida Atlantic, Florida State and Houston before joining the Razorbacks in 2020.

Arkansas ranked seventh nationally in rushing last season at 237 yards per game and 15th in total offense at 471. The Razorbacks finished with 3,075 yards rushing, their most in 19 years.

Briles inherits an offense that helped the Horned Frogs to a 13-2 finish that included a College Football Playoff semifinal victory over Michigan before a 65-7 loss to Georgia in the title game.

Quarterback Max Duggan, the Heisman Trophy runner-up who threw for 32 touchdowns with eight interceptions and ran for nine more scores, is skipping a final season of eligibility to turn pro.

Briles was a Texas state championship-winning high school quarterback at Stephenville in 1999 before Art Briles, the head coach, took a job as an assistant at Texas Tech. The younger Briles led Wolfforth Frenship to the state semifinals as a senior.

Clemson hires TCU’s Garrett Riley as offensive coordinator

Getty Images

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney hired TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley to reignite the Tigers’ attack.

The school’s board of trustees compensation committee approved a three-year contract that will pay the 33-year-old Riley $1.75 million per season.

Swinney hopes the move invigorates an offense that had slipped the past two seasons since Clemson’s last College Football Playoff berth in 2020.

It’s the first time Swinney has gone outside his current staff for a coordinator hire since bringing in Oklahoma’s Brent Venables to lead the Tigers’ defense before the 2012 season.

If Riley can have the impact Venables did from the start, it could spark an group that finished 30th nationally in scoring and 48th in total offense this past fall.

“Garrett has an incredible track record,” Swinney said in a statement. Riley helped TCU finish ninth in scoring offense and get the Horned Frogs from a five-win team in 2021 to the national championship game this season.

“His body of work,” Swinney said, “speaks for itself.”

Swinney cleared the way for Riley when he fired long-time staffer and first-year offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter on Thursday.

Streeter’s offense helped the Tigers through a perfect ACC regular season and a 39-10 victory over North Carolina in the championship game to win their seventh league title in eight seasons. But Clemson was seventh in the league at 404 yards per game and struggled notably in a 35-14 loss at Notre Dame in November and a 31-14 defeat to Tennessee at the Orange Bowl last month.

Swinney said after a deep-dive into the offense, “this was just the right time to make a change.”

Riley will receive a $300,000 signing bonus. His contract also calls for bonuses of $10,000 for reaching ACC championship game to $100,000 if Clemson wins the national championship and the offense is ranked among the top five nationally.

“The opportunity to join a program with such a rich tradition and renowned culture was simply too good for me to pass up,” said Riley, the brother of Southern Cal coach Lincoln Riley.

Riley thanked TCU coach Sonny Dykes, the Horned Frogs players, staffers and fans, saying the past season’s run created a “lifetime of memories.”

Riley, who’ll also coach quarterbacks, should have a talent-rich QB room to deal with. Cade Klubnik, who took over for two-year starter DJ Uiagalelei in the ACC title game, will be a sophomore while Chris Vizzina, ranked by as the nation’s seventh best quarterback, signed with the Tigers in December.