Graham Harrell, the trigger man behind perhaps the most prolific version of the Air Raid offense in history, is set to reunite with his former coach Mike Leach at Washington State, according to multiple reports. It was first reported by Chris Level of redraidersports.com and has since been confirmed by Jacob Thorpe of the Spokesman-Review.
Unless there is an unanticipated change in the assistant coaching staff -- the number of which is capped at nine by the NCAA -- Harrell will be joining the program in some other on-campus capacity, likely in a role commonly known as "quality control." Responsibilities vary from campus to campus, but this type of job typically includes scouting, game planning and working with recruits who visit campus.
This is nothing but a huge win for WSU. Although Harrell can't "coach" in the way you'd typically think because of NCAA rules, having his wealth of knowledge around Connor Halliday and the other WSU quarterbacks should be enormous. Harrell threw for nearly 16,000 yards and 134 touchdowns in three years as a starter at Texas Tech, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes along the way. And he should be able to help sell potential QB recruits who visit campus on the virtues of the Air Raid.
Harrell had been a backup quarterback in the NFL since his departure from Texas Tech in 2008, first with the Green Bay Packers, then with the New York Jets, who released him last September. He went unsigned for the remainder of the year and remained a free agent.
That left Harrell looking for potential avenues into coaching. He reportedly interviewed for a pair of offensive coordinator jobs at high schools in Texas over the past couple of weeks, but he either didn't get those jobs or decided that landing with Leach was the better route to his ultimate goals.
Former Leach quarterbacks have had some success coaching. Kliff Kingsbury -- Leach's first quarterback at Texas Tech -- returned to his alma mater to coach the Red Raiders, and Leach's QB at Oklahoma, Josh Heupel, is now the co-offensive coordinator for the Sooners.
I assume Harrell is using this as a foot in the door to a larger role within Leach's staff -- or another staff -- in the future.