PFF ranks the Top 10 offensive coordinators ahead of 2023 college football season

On3 imageby:Nick Schultz05/09/23


Offensive coordinators Mike Denbrock, Garrett Riley and Phil Longo
Photos: Sam Greene/The Enquirer via Imagn Content Services, LLC; The Independent Mail-USA TODAY NETWORK; Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

There was plenty of movement at the offensive coordinator position this offseason as some big names left for new jobs. Following spring practice, PFF has ranked the top 10 OCs in the game ahead of the 2023 season.

The biggest fish in the pond this offseason was Garrett Riley, who left TCU after a run to the national championship and is replacing Brandon Streeter at Clemson. The next two names on the list — Ryan Grubb and Andy Ludwig — both had offers to go elsewhere, but ultimately ended up staying with their current programs.

All told, three of PFF’s top 10 offensive coordinators moved on since the end of last season.

1. Garrett Riley, Clemson

Riley helped turn TCU into a College Football Playoff team and Max Duggan into a Heisman Trophy finalist in Sonny Dykes’ first season at the helm. The Horned Frogs ranked No. 9 in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 38.8 points per game. Now, he’ll try to have the same success at Clemson with Cade Klubnik taking over under center following a solid freshman campaign in 2022.

2. Ryan Grubb, Washington

Grubb helped engineer quite the turnaround for Washington as the Huskies went from averaging 225 yards per game in 2021 to a nation-leading 369.8 yards per contest in 2022. That success garnered interest from Nick Saban and Alabama, but Grubb ultimately turned down the Crimson Tide to stay in Washington. With Michael Penix Jr. back in the fold for another year, the Huskies could be in position to build off those impressive numbers.

3. Andy Ludwig, Utah

Utah was the only team to beat USC twice in 2022, doing so in both the regular season and the Pac-12 Championship. The Utes — again led by Cameron Rising — ranked No. 11 in the nation with 38.6 points per game and No. 17 in total offense with 466.9 yards per game in Ludwig’s system. He was in strong consideration for the offensive coordinator job at Notre Dame, even attending a hockey game with Marcus Freeman, before his buyout led the Fighting Irish to back off. As a result, he’s back at Utah this year.

4. Phil Longo, Wisconsin

Longo was one of the highest-profile moves Luke Fickell made at Wisconsin after leaving Cincinnati. His Air Raid offense at North Carolina ranked No. 11 in the country in passing offense with 309.3 yards per game and No. 19 in total offense with 462.8 yards per contest. Now at Wisconsin, he’ll try to bring that same formula under Fickell as a new era gets underway in Madison.

5. Mike Denbrock, LSU

Denbrock arrived at LSU last year as Brian Kelly took over the program and was a key part of Jayden Daniels’ impressive first season in Baton Rouge. Daniels threw for 2,913 yards and 17 touchdowns while rushing for 885 yards and 11 touchdowns to cement himself as a proven dual-threat in the SEC. Both are back again this year, meaning a leap could be in the cards for LSU after ranking No. 4 in the conference in scoring offense.

6. Jeff Lebby, Oklahoma

Lebby returned to his alma mater to become the offensive coordinator last year under Brent Venables, and although Oklahoma struggled, the run game came through. The Sooners rushed for 219.4 yards per game, which ranked No. 10 in the country. He also reunited with Dillon Gabriel after he transferred from UCF, and they’ll look to bounce back this year after an up-and-down 2022 season.

7. Jeff Grimes, Baylor

Grimes heard his name come up for some head coach opportunities, but ultimately wound up staying at Baylor after an interesting year. In 2021, Baylor ranked third in the Big 12 with 31.6 points per game, but although that number increased to 32.2 points per contest in 2022, the Bears ranked No. 7 in the conference in scoring offense.

8. Warren Ruggiero, Wake Forest

Wake Forest has been consistently toward the top of the ACC in total offense under Ruggiero’s watch. Last year, the Demon Deacons ranked third in the league with 443 yards per game and tied for the league lead with 36.1 points per game. With quarterback Sam Hartman — the ACC’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns — now at Notre Dame, it’ll be interesting to see if they can continue that success.

9. Alex Atkins, Florida State

Jordan Travis found his stride in Atkins’ system last season to help Florida State to the best offense in the ACC. The Seminoles led the league with 484.2 yards per game of total offense and tied with Wake Forest for the lead with 36.1 points per game. Travis is back for another year and FSU brought in some key playmakers from the transfer portal — including tight end Jaheim Bell — and he could build off his strong 2022 season.

10. Tommy Rees, Alabama

After Grubb turned down Alabama, Saban and the Crimson Tide turned to South Bend to lure Rees away from his alma mater. Notre Dame averaged 396.2 yards per game of total offense in 2022 and ranked No. 35 in the nation in rushing offense with 189.1 yards per contest. Now, Rees — who also brought in former Fighting Irish quarterback Tyler Buchner from the portal — will try to get better numbers out of his pro-style system in Tuscaloosa.