USC football promotes two coaches

Over the weekend, USC football head coach Clay Helton filled two coaching vacancies. He named Bryan Ellis the team’s new quarterbacks coach, while former Trojan receiver Keary Colbert will oversee the tight ends and inside receivers.

Ellis replaces Tyson Helton, Clay Helton’s younger brother who left USC in December to become the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for the University of Tennessee.

Bryan Ellis will replace Tyson Helton as the Trojans’ quarterback coach. He will have to develop a QB to replace Sam Darnold. Emily Smith | Daily Trojan

Ellis, 29, enjoyed a successful career as a quarterback at the University of Alabama- Birmingham under the leadership of current USC offensive line coach Neil Callaway. Before joining USC as an offensive quality control assistant in 2017, Ellis was the wide receiver coach and passing game coordinator for Western Kentucky.

The new quarterback coach received his first taste of the role at the Cotton Bowl. In that game, redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold threw for 356 yards but struggled to hold onto the football. He threw an interception and fumbled twice in the 7-24 loss to Ohio State.

One of Ellis’ first duties will be to help determine Darnold’s successor, following the starting quarterback’s decision to declare for the NFL Draft. Redshirt freshman Matt Fink, freshman Jack Sears and incoming five-star recruit J.T. Daniels are all expected to be contenders for the position.

Colbert, like Ellis, also worked as an offensive quality control assistant at USC in 2017 and 2016. His previous coaching experience includes stints as an offensive analyst at Alabama from 2014-15, and as a wide receiver coach for Georgia State in 2013.

A starter when as an undergraduate at USC from 2000 to 2003, Colbert enjoyed a tremendous college football career. He ranks seventh in USC school history receiving with 2,964 yards, after recording two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in 2002 and 2003.

Colbert was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He finished his professional career with 1,629 yards and eight touchdowns.

“We are very excited to promote Bryan Ellis and Keary Colbert,” Helton said in a press release. “I have been extremely impressed with both individuals over their time here at USC. Their knowledge of the game, ability to develop relationships with our current players and talent to recruit top athletes will be a tremendous asset to our program. These are two young stars in our profession and we are proud that they are part of the Trojan Family.”