The SEC West or Gainesville and the Florida Gators? That’s the question two of hottest offensive minds in college football are being asked.
College Gameday’s guest pickers have become a sideshow all on their own. But, Katy Perry trolling Nick Saban is priceless.
With Bryan Harsin named head coach at his alma mater Boise State, Arkansas State defensive coordinator John Thompson has been named the Red Wolves’ interim head coach.
ASU’s last three head coaches — Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze, Auburn’s Gus Malzhan to Auburn, and Harsin — each stayed with the school just one season before moving on to bigger and better things, which should help the school attract some interesting candidates this time around.
A couple of interesting names to keep an eye on include Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, an Arkansas native who was with Malzahn with the Red Wolves, former USC assistant Ed Orgeron and Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.
Ravens assistant offensive line coach Todd Washington has been offered the USC o-line job by new Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian.
As first reported by CBS’ Bruce Feldman, Hawaii has fired defensive coordinator Thom Kaumeyer and linebackers coach Tony Tuioti.
Maryland defensive line coach Greg Gattuso has hired as head coach at Albany, according to multiple media reports.
Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News reports that Texas A&M’s Board of Regents will hold a special conference call at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The school’s president is seeking permission to execute a new contract with the head coach Kevin Sumlin.
Sumlin and athletic director Eric Hyman have an agreement in place for $5 million annually, up from $3.1 million per season.
Details of the contract should become available by open record request soon after details are finalized.
Iowa State offensive line coach Chris Klenakis will interview for the vacant offensive coordinator position.
Ole Miss has announced a one-year extension for Hugh Freeze. His base salary to will increase to $3 million per year. The salary pool for Freeze’s assistants will also increase by $400,000.
The offensive coordinator job at Florida remains in flux. We’re told the leading three candidates are UNC’s Blake Anderson, Arizona State’s Mike Norvell and Nebraska’s Tim Beck.
Sources indicate UCLA’s Noel Mazzone had an early interest, but decided to stay in Westwood.
Ball State offensive coordinator Rich Skrosky will be named head coach at FCS Elon.
Skrosky was an assistant at Elon from 2006-10 under former head coach Pete Lembo.
Photo: Don Ryan, AP
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]klahoma State cornerbacks coach Jason Jones is leaving for Ole Miss, OSU officials have confirmed.
Jones has spent the past five seasons with the Cowboys.
He replaces Ole Miss secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff, who joined the New Orleans Saints’ staff earlier this month.
Prior to Oklahoma State, Jones had two stints at Tulsa (2005, 2007) and spent one season at Rice (2006).
A two-year starter at defensive back for Alabama, Jones served as a graduate assistant there in 2004.
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Lett, Parker to join Tennessee staff in off-the-field roles
Tennessee announced that Derrick Lett would join the staff as offensive administrative intern. Lett spent the last four seasons at Bowling Green (Ohio) High School in Ohio, most recently as the passing game coordinator. He began his coaching career there as the quarterbacks and receivers coach. Lett played at Bowling Green from 2001-05 where he was coached by current UT receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Zach Azzanni.
Former Vol offensive lineman Anthony Parker was officially announced as an offensive graduate assistant. We reported his hire in last Monday’s Wire.
UTC promotes Braithwhite to defensive coordinator; Wright hired
Tennessee-Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman promoted safeties coach Adam Braithwhite to defensive coordinator, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Braithwaite joined the Mocs’ staff in 2012 after serving as the defensive coordinator at Christopher Newport (Division III) in 2011. Braithwaite will replace Adam Fuller, who left UTC after four seasons for a job at Marshall.
In addition, Huesman has hired former UTC player and assistant coach Rusty Wright as linebackers coach. Wright was defensive coordinator at Reinhardt (NAIA) the past two seasons.
Al Seamonson will be Illinois’ outside linebackers coach
Al Seamonson will join Tim Beckman’s staff at Illinois as outside linebackers coach, according to multiple reports. Seamonson coached at Central Florida the past two seasons. Before that, he spent 10 seasons at Maryland.
Saints hire Ole Miss co-defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff
The New Orleans Saints have hired Ole Miss co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Wesley McGriff as secondary coach. McGriff joined Hugh Freeze’s staff last season after spending 2011 at at Vanderbilt where he was as defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator. Before that, he coached four seasons at Miami. The Saints announced the hire via Twitter.
Former Western Illinois assistant Carl Franks hired by Winnipeg
Former Western Illinois defensive backs coach Carl Franks has been hired in the same role by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL. Franks worked with cornerbacks and special teams at Northern Arizona from 2003-2008 and also has stints at Utah State and Montana, where he was an All-Big Sky safety.
Ron Crook announced as West Virginia offensive line coach
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen has officially announced Ron Crook as the Mountaineers’ offensive line coach. Crook spent the past two seasons as Stanford’s tight ends and tackles coach. We first reported the story here last Thursday.
Andrew Marlatt named Miami-Ohio special teams coach
Miami-Ohio coach Don Treadwell announced the hiring of Andrew Marlatt as special teams coordinator. Marlatta, who was a standout player for the RedHawks from 1984-87, has been head coach at Loveland High School the past seven seasons. From 2001-05, he served as Director of Football Operations for the Anthony Munoz Youth Football Academy in Cincinnati.
Marlatt’s hiring completes the Miami-Ohio 2013 coaching staff. Below is a look:
Don Treadwell, Head Coach
John Klacik, Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends
Jay Peterson, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
Andrew Marlatt, Special Teams Coordinator
Nick Siatras, Recruiting Coordinator/Defensive Ends
Mike Bath, Quarterbacks and Receivers
Ron Carpenter, Defensive Backs
Robert Lee, Defensive Tackles
Mark Spencer, Running Backs
Ed Stults, Offensive Line
Reed Schuitema, Director of Football Operations
Nick Eippert, Video Coordinator
Michael LaFlamme, Recruiting Assistant
Matt Mountjoy, Graduate Assistant
Maurice Watts, Graduate Assistant
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Head coaches may get the glory at the press conferences, but its the assistant coaches whose year-round grind that builds the relationships that ultimately make National Signing Day either a success or failure. Today, we’re recognizing some assistants whose hard work paid off with huge Signing Day hauls.-CoachScoop (Note: These profiles are focused on assistants who had particular success on National Signing Day. We’ll release our ranking of the naton’s top recruiters later this week.)
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s no secret that Ole Miss has been the story of the 2013 recruiting season.
The Rebels have had tons of buzz the past few months, and that culminated with a huge haul on Wednesday.
There’s undoubtedly several things that played into their success, but one factor that cannot be overlooked is assistant coach Chris Kiffin.
Kiffin, who followed Hugh Freeze from Arkansas State last year, served as lead recruiter for both Robert Nkemdiche (6-5, 260), the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit, and Laremy Tunsil (6-6, 295), the No. 1 offensive line prospect in the country. Both Nkemdiche and Tunsil committed and signed with the Rebs on Signing Day.
Nkemdiche, whose brother Denzel is a starting linebacker for the Rebs, kicked things off with an early-morning announcement on ESPNU. Long thought to be a lock to join his brother, the Grayson (Ga.) High defensive end chose Ole Miss over LSU and Florida in the end, but had offers from virtually every school in the country.
Tunsil was a different story entirely. On Jan. 22, three days before his official visit to Oxford, the Lake City (Fla.) Columbia High product told UGASports.com’s Jake Rowe, “I’m just taking a visit to Ole Miss and stuff to see how the campus is, but I just have a top two and that is Georgia and Alabama.”
That changed quickly after his trip to Oxford, and Kiffin’s hard work certainly played a part in Ole Miss’ move to the front of the pack. Like Nkemdiche, he announced for the Rebels on ESPNU Wednesday morning.
Freeze hired Kiffin as Arkansas State’s defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator in 2011. It was Kiffin’s first opportunity to coach on-the-field after serving in administrative and quality control roles at USC and Nebraska, and it has turned out to be a wise decision.
In addition to Nkemdiche and Tunsil, Kiffin also served as lead recruiter for Laquon Treadwell (6-3, 198, Crete, Ill.), an Ole Miss signee and the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver prospect.
Before Wednesday, Ole Miss had never signed a single top-20 rated recruit. Now, with Kiffin leading the charged, they’ve signed three.
The Rebels are currently No. 7 in the Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings after entering the day at No. 11.
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s not exactly a newsflash to say that Ole Miss’ 2013 recruiting class is turning heads.
The Rebels class is currently ranked No. 11 by Rivals.com, and are poised to move higher – perhaps much higher – on Signing Day. Their current ranking doesn’t include the nation’s consensus No. 1 player, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, who is expected to ink with Ole Miss, or others like five-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil or five-star safety Tony Conner who seriously considering the Rebs.
Hugh Freeze has turned Ole Miss into this year’s “it” school on the recruiting circuit.
That’s a pretty drastic change from the norm, and that’s what has people scratching their heads. Last year, Ole Miss finished No. 40 in the Rivals team rankings, and their average ranking over the past five classes is 27th. By any measure, it’s one of the biggest recruiting turnarounds ever.
Ole Miss supporters would tell you that the foundations to land top recruits have always been there – a beautiful campus; a small-but-sophisticated college town; lovely, um, coeds; the chance to play against SEC competition but to realistically compete for early playing time – it’s just taken a tireless working and excellent salesman like Freeze to bring them to light.
Still, it’s understandable that fans of college football’s blue bloods might be skeptical of an upstart stealing their recruits – especially when that team plays in the SEC West.
At least one of those recruits didn’t help the situation. Five-star Laquon Treadwell, the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver and a Rebel commit, caused a social media firestorm when he reportedly posted photos holding cash ($305 to be exact) on his Instagram page just after returning from his official visit to Oxford. (Though, as the Ole Miss blog Red Cup Rebellion points out, if all it took was $305 to secure Treadwell’s services, the Rebs are getting the steal of the century.)
Freeze has apparently had enough. Late Friday afternoon, he posted a message to Twitter calling out the Rebs’ accusers:
Freeze has been known as a dynamic personality, dating back to his days as head coach of Memphis’ Briarcrest Christian School. (If that name sounds familiar, Freeze and Briarcrest were depicted in Michael Lewis’ book and later movie The Blind Side.) Then, in his first college job, he worked on Ed Orgeron’s Ole Miss staff from 2007-07, learning the trade from one of the most tenacious recruiters around.
As a head coach, there’s no denying that Freeze has simply been a winner wherever he’s been. In 10 years at Briarcrest, his teams went 94-30. He was 20–5 in seasons seasons at NAIA Lambuth College, beating opponents by an average of 41-17. Freeze coached just one year at Arkansas State, leading the Red Wolves to a 10-2 record and their first Sun Belt Conference title since 2005, and his 7-6 record last season at Ole Miss surpassed anyone’s expectations.
Could this simply be a case of a hard-working, charismatic coach coupled with some incredibly fortunate circumstance – he happens to have Denzel Nkemdiche, Robert’s older brother, and Anthony Standifer, a former teammate and close friend of Treadwell, on his roster in Oxford – to create the recruiting equivalent of a perfect recruiting storm? Or, is the other side correct, and the Rebels’ recruiting turnaround a function of someone, somewhere at Ole Miss doing something untoward?
Talking to college coaches, it seems to be the former rather than the latter.
When they’re speaking about recruiting off-the-record about recruits they failed to land, college coaches are never shy about throwing around accusations about opposing coaches a – and oftentimes it’s pretty obviously sour grapes. But I’ve actually been shocked by how little chatter there’s been about Ole Miss’ current recruiting bonanza. Most have blamed circumstance (such as with Nkemdiche and Treadwell) or simply the Ole Miss staff doing a great job of selling the positives we mentioned previously.
Either way, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more compelling 2013 recruiting story than Ole Miss’ turnaround, and it will be fascinating to see how this one plays out on Feb. 6 and beyond.