1. Jim Leonhard can bring Wisconsin toughness to this glamor program
While the two previous defensive coordinator candidates are all contingent on them being terminated from their posts as head coaches, what about a guy who failed as an interim at his alma mater? Yes, we have arrived at perhaps the best candidate on-paper for USC's defensive coordinator vacancy. Former Wisconsin interim head coach Jim Leonhard, who is an analyst on Bret Bielema's Illinois staff.
Leonhard is every bit a Wisconsin man. He played for Barry Alvarez in Madison before spending a decade in the NFL as a safety for six different franchises. After hanging up the spikes following the 2014 NFL season with the Cleveland Browns, Leonhard got into coaching by serving on Paul Chryst's staff at Wisconsin in 2016. He was with the Badgers through Chryst's termination, and slightly longer.
Linking up with a former Wisconsin head coach at Illinois made sense, but the Illini are really struggling in the wake of their former defensive coordinator Ryan Walters taking over at Purdue. Regardless, Leonhard is too good to be an analyst for too long. He has cachet from his days playing in the league, as well as his collegiate and coaching ties to Wisconsin, a team that plays in the Big Ten.
Leonhard would give the USC defense the toughness it needs to stop being such a glamor program.