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Utes running back coach Kiel McDonald leaves program, expected to be hired by USC

Utah running back Jordan Wilmore, right, looks on during fall camp on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Utah running back Jordan Wilmore, right, looks on during fall camp on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, at Rice-Eccles Stadium. (Courtesy Utah Athletics)



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY β€” A day after Utah fell to Ohio State 48-45 in the program's first Rose Bowl, Utes running back coach Kiel McDonald announced his departure from the program.

McDonald, who was hired on with the program in 2017, took to Twitter Sunday and thanked Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham "for giving me a chance to coach amongst some of the best teachers, developers, and men in the country."

McDonald was linked to multiple reports Saturday night indicating he would be joining Lincoln Riley's staff at USC under the same role, though no official word has been made on his hiring by the Trojans. The announcement is expected in the coming days.

As a strong evaluator of talent, McDonald had a knack for recruiting and developing running backs in Utah's program. He was the primary recruiter for former Utes running back Ty Jordan, and was credited with getting Tavion Thomas in playing shape to break onto the scene with 21 rushing touchdowns in 2021.

"To my 22's, Aaron, we love you and miss your kind hearted soul," he tweeted. "To my ace, Ty, your light will forever be with me and the U."

McDonald was under contract with the university through Jan. 31, 2023 and made $275,000 this last season.

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