Clemson football targeting SEC assistant coach for offensive line job, reports say

The Clemson football team is targeting a veteran coach with SEC head coaching and coordinating experience for its offensive line opening, according to multiple reports.

Friday reports from TigerIllustrated and The Clemson Insider revealed that former Ole Miss head coach and Georgia offensive line coach Matt Luke has emerged as an early candidate for Clemson’s offensive line coach position.

Coach Dabo Swinney announced Wednesday he’d fired Thomas Austin, a former All-ACC Clemson and NFL lineman, from the job after two seasons. Austin had replaced the retiring Robbie Caldwell in 2022. Swinney and defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall also made the “mutual decision” to part ways, the program announced.

Luke most recently served spent two seasons as Georgia’s offensive line coach and associate head coach and was part of the Bulldogs’ 2021 College Football Playoff national championship team. He stepped down in February 2022 to spend more time with his family, later citing burnout from the year-round nature of the profession.

Luke, 47, previously spent 2017-19 as head coach at Ole Miss, where he was 15-21 across three seasons. A former offensive lineman at Ole Miss, he’s been coaching that position for over 20 years and has also spent time as a co-offensive coordinator at Duke from 2008-11 and Ole Miss from 2011-16 (before he earned the head job).

Luke’s résumé is far different than that of Austin, 37, who’d only spent two seasons as a position coach at Georgia State before Swinney promoted him to offensive line coach in February 2022. Austin was making $450,000 this year.

Clemson’s reported interest in Luke also indicates Swinney’s casting a wide net in the search for a second cycle in a row after hiring offensive coordinator Garrett Riley away from TCU last year to replace Brandon Streeter. Swinney has a long history of making internal hires, with mixed results in recent seasons.

Luke was linked to Notre Dame’s offensive line coach opening last year and, but the Fighting Irish ended up hiring Virginia Tech assistant coach Joe Rudolph instead.

The Tigers finished the regular season 8-4 and 4-4 in the ACC, winning their last four games but falling very short of preseason national championship expectations. They’ll learn their bowl destination (widely projected to be the Holiday Bowl in San Diego against either Oregon State or Southern Cal) on Sunday.