According to sources Indiana co-defensive coordinator and linebacker coach Mike Ekeler was offered and accepted the USC linebacker coaching position. The addition of Ekeler would complete Lane Kiffin's coaching staff along with the expected hires of offensive line coach Mike Summers and running backs coach Tommie Robinson.
Ekeler interviewed for the same position with USC last season after Joe Barry departed for the San Diego Chargers. According to one source Ekeler turned the job down and USC ended up hiring Scottie Hazelton. After one season Hazelton left to become the defensive coordinator at Reno.
Before joining the Hoosiers Ekeler spent 2008-10 as the linebackers coach at Nebraska. He also served as an intern and graduate assistant at LSU from 2005-07, winning an SEC title and national championship. Prior to that Ekeler was a defensive graduate assistant at Oklahoma and was on the staff that played against USC in the Orange Bowl in 2005.
Ekeler was a four-year letterman at Kansas State, playing both linebacker and on special teams. Head coach Bill Snyder appointed Ekeler as a captain in 1994, the only self-appointed captain during Snyder's tenure as Wildcats head coach.
He is considered a Bo Pelini disciple, coaching with him in a 4-3 under system at LSU and Nebraska before moving on to Indiana to share coordinator duties.
It is undetermined whether Ekeler will have any coordinating duties at USC. Last month USC hired former California defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast to fulfill that same role at USC in addition to overseeing the secondary.
Ekeler is expected to join the two other recent USC hires, completing the Trojans coaching staff in time for Junior Day this weekend and spring practice in a couple of weeks.
USCFootball.com reported on Wednesday that veteran coach Mike Summers has been hired by Lane Kiffin. He was most recently the O-line coach and run game coordinator at Kentucky the last three years where he coached with USC wide receivers coach Tee Martin.
On Thursday USCFootball.com broke the news that USC was in the final stages of hiring former Arizona Cardinals running backs coach Tommie Robinson. At the time Robinson had been expected to join the Utah State staff until he was offered by USC. Then on Friday we reported that other programs were coming after Robinson late including a local option, Arizona State (Robinson's family currently resides in Phoenix).
Now sources are confident that Robinson is very close to agreeing to terms to join the Trojans.
If USC sticks to recent trends with major announcements, we expect an official announcement to be made at the same time for all three new assistant coaches.
Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more updates on the team as Kiffin and company get ready for spring football.
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