It’s long been thought by some observers that Dabo Swinney will ultimately take over for Nick Saban at his alma mater Alabama. Could it be, though, that the NFL presents a bigger threat to Clemson when it comes to keeping its wildly successful head football coach?
With the Cleveland Browns job opening up Monday and Baker Mayfield entrenched as that franchise’s much hoped-for franchise quarterback, Lincoln Riley was immediately mentioned as a potential candidate. While the Oklahoma head coach attempted to publicly knock down the speculation — he used the words “right now” three different times, it’s been widely highlighted — Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports noted that, if not the Browns, the Dallas Cowboys could come calling on the 35-year-old Riley if Jerry Jones moves on from Jason Garrett.
In that same report on potential candidates to replace Hue Jackson in Cleveland, Robinson offered up another high-profile name from the college game — Swinney.
To open the note on Swinney, Robinson writes that, “[l]istening to some people around the NFL who know Swinney, I’m convinced he will eventually take a shot at the next level of football.” “For his part, Swinney has had an opportunity to shut down NFL talk in the past but declined to completely close the door,” Robinson added.
And what of the Crimson Tide job when Saban, who’ll turn 67 Oct. 31, ultimately steps down?
“Following Nick Saban’s record at Alabama is a lot harder than following [Saban’s] record in the NFL,” one league source told Robinson. “Dabo is his own guy, too. I don’t think he’s all that interested in being a successor to anyone in college.”
In a separate post, Robinson’s Yahoo! colleague, Pat Forde, doesn’t mention Swinney, but does have the usual list of college coaches who could be candidates for NFL jobs — Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, Stanford’s David Shaw — as well as a pair of names — Purdue’s Jeff Brohm, Florida’s Dan Mullen — who could be on the NFL’s radar before it’s all said and done.