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Senior College Football Columnist

Top Seminoles assistant a candidate at Southern Miss

The search at Southern Miss is expanding as the school begins to look for its next coach after it fired Ellis Johnson earlier in the week. Johnson was canned after going 0-12 in his only season at USM after the Golden Eagles went 12-2 in 2011.

As CBSSports.com reported Tuesday, former USM assistants Blake Anderson (now the offensive coordinator at UNC) and Tyrone Nix (now the defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee) are two of the leading candidates, according to a source. Anderson, along with Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken, was also under consideration when the school chose Johnson last year.

On Wednesday, a new candidate also emerged: Eddie Gran, an associate head coach, special teams coordinator and running backs coach at Florida State. The 47-year-old Gran is widely considered to be one of the best recruiters in the country. He was also one of Tommy Tuberville's top assistants when the coach turned around Ole Miss amid massive scholarship reductions in the mid '90s. Later, Gran was Tuberville's right-hand man for a decade at Auburn.

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