MORGANTOWN — Late Thursday night, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported that WVU offensive coordinator Graham Harrell will be leaving Morgantown for the same position at Purdue.
The Boilermakers recently hired first-time head coach Ryan Walters to replace Jeff Brohm, who was hired by Louisville. Formerly a defensive coordinator at Illinois, Walters will apparently bring in Harrell to run the team’s offense. Harrell and Walters do not appear to have a prior connection. Both were previously assistant coaches at North Texas, although at different times.
Under Harrell, WVU averaged 30.6 points per game this season, the most in the Neal Brown era. The Mountaineers averaged 171.5 rushing yards per game, another high-water mark under Brown. The team also averaged 399 total yards per game, just below 2020’s mark of 412.6.
Despite Harrell being a product of the air raid offense of the late coach Mike Leach, WVU actually passed the ball less this season (425 attempts vs. 447 in 2021) and for fewer yards, averaging just 227.5 yards per game (247.9 in 2021). Quarterbacks’ completion percentage also took a dip, falling below 60% for the first time in Brown’s tenure at 59.8%.
Harrell spent just one season in Morgantown following a three-year stint in the same role at USC. At USC, Harrell coached quarterback JT Daniels, who started 10 games for WVU this season and entered the transfer portal last week. Daniels said one of his main reasons for coming to WVU was Harrell’s hiring last offseason.
Whoever is hired to replace Harrell will be WVU’s fourth offensive coordinator during Brown’s tenure. Offensive line coach Matt Moore and running backs coach Chad Scott shared OC responsibilities in 2019 and Gerad Parker held the position in 2020 and ’21.