A Penn State coach has been mentioned as a candidate for a job at USC.
This time, that Penn State coach isn’t James Franklin, and that job isn’t a head coaching job.
Penn State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was listed by USCFootball.com, which is USC’s 247Sports branch, as a “hotboard” candidate to become the school’s first full-time defensive coordinator after Alex Grinch, who was fired this past Sunday.
Diaz has been Penn State’s defensive coordinator for almost two full years now, and it’s gone quite well. Last season, his defense was a big reason Penn State went 11-2, won the Rose Bowl and finished in the top 10 after a multi-year absence.
This season, Diaz runs the No. 2 total defense in the country.
On 247’s College Football Recruiting Podcast with Andrew Ivins and Cooper Petagna, Ivins said Diaz “could make a ton of sense” at USC.
“Now I don’t know if he would take that job if he would leave Penn State,” Ivins said. “This is a guy that has a ton of ties to the state of Florida.”
— 247Sports (@247Sports) November 9, 2023
Ivins feels that, if Diaz were to leave, doing to so for a head coaching job would make more sense.
“Last year, he interviewed at Florida Atlantic,” Ivins said. “They ended up going with Tom Herman. But I think Manny Diaz, his name is going to be in the headlines. The closer and closer we get to December and the end of the season.”
Although Ivins didn’t predict Diaz to move to USC, he feels his system would “fit in the Big Ten,” which USC will start playing in next season.
“It’s a 4-3 look,” he said, “they can stop the run. I don’t know. That’s an exciting name for me. Again, I don’t know if it’s going to work out. But I thought that was certainly interesting.”
There was another Power Five job Ivins mentioned Diaz as a potential candidate for if it’s open: NC State.
Dave Doeren is in his 11th season at NC State and is currently 6-3.
But NC State’s only finished in the top 25 twice in Doeren’s tenure, and there’s talk that a change could be coming.
Considering Diaz already has been an ACC head coach (Miami) and was on NC State’s staff in the early-mid 2000s under Chuck Amato, it’s a potential opening Ivins “would check.”
“Keep an eye on Manny Diaz there,” Ivins said. “GA there, was a position coach for five years, and I think that would make some sense if things were to open up.”