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Morris has talked with SMU, appears primed for departure from Clemson

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Morris has talked with SMU, appears primed for departure from Clemson

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris during their game Saturday, Nov. 30, 2014 at Memorial Stadium. Paul Zoeller/Staff

What a way to go out - if indeed offensive coordinator Chad Morris is on his way out at Clemson.

Two days after it was reported that Morris will be the next head coach at Southern Methodist in his native Texas, Morris said "there's nothing set in stone," but admitted Saturday he has been talking with SMU officials.

"We all know I do have a goal, I'd love to be a head coach one day," Morris said following the Tigers' 35-17 triumph over South Carolina. "When and where, we'll find out soon enough if it's part of the plan. If it's not, I'm extremely happy right here and I love this group of guys."

Morris earns $1.3 million a year at Clemson, making him the highest paid coordinator in college football.

SMU reportedly is offering Morris more than $3 million per year to take over the program in Dallas, and Morris' Clemson contract stipulates he's free to accept a head coaching position without being saddled with a buyout.

Morris' history with Texas high schools (winning three state championships) and SMU's desire for an offensive-minded coach explain why the pair has been speculated to be a match since June Jones' resignation Sept. 8.

On July 15, asked about his mindset entering his fourth year on Clemson's staff, Morris said he sought a desirable head coaching job where others would wish him well, not question why he was jumping ship.

Morris said Saturday: "If it's a job I leave for, then this was something I feel extremely strong about. And I ask that everybody would respect the time and the effort that we've put in here in four years, and what we've done offensively around here.

"There may be a lot of factors involved that people don't know about. But I know we're excited about what just happened. We're gonna celebrate tonight, with those kids in there and my family. I'm gonna eat some turkey and enjoy it this time. It was hard to enjoy it on Thanksgiving."

Morris, who turns 46 Thursday, is 41-11 as part of Clemson's staff. His name previously was tossed around in searches at Texas Tech, N.C. State, Louisville, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.

"If Chad has an opportunity, and it's something that he wants to do and feels good about, hey, I wish him nothing but the best," head coach Dabo Swinney said. "He's helped us, and we've helped him."

Swinney declined to say how long Morris has been in talks with SMU.

"He hasn't made that decision yet. He's got an opportunity and he'll look at it," Swinney said. "If there's something to report on, we'll talk about it."

Morris oversaw offenses ranked No. 9 in the country in 2012 and 2013, and brought freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson to Clemson as his prized recruit. If Morris leaves for SMU as expected, he won't stick around for the Tigers' bowl practices.

"I mean, I haven't really considered anything until that moment happens," said Watson, of the idea of parting with Morris. "Right now, I just want to celebrate with my teammates. The future's always bright for this program. Whatever he decides, then that's on him."

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