Greg McElroy offered some grades for first-year coaches across the country, and Southern Cal’s Lincoln Riley received a strong grade.

The ESPN analyst said on his “Always College Football” podcast that he gave the USC coach an A, and then responded to opinions about the defensive struggles, and the loss to Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

“Fair, guys, but he inherited a team that went 4-8,” McElroy said. “From 4-8 to a Pac-12 title game berth within a win of getting to the College Football Playoff. And he led his quarterback to the Heisman Trophy. He continues to cement what has long been considered, continues to cement home that he may be the best developer and the best play-caller for quarterbacks in the country. You play for Lincoln Riley, guess what, you’re in the Heisman race.”

McElroy added that if someone would give Riley anything other than an ‘A’ grade, it’d be difficult for him to see eye to eye with that conclusion.

The comments start at about 4:06 below: