Troy confirms Kentucky OC Neal Brown hired as next head coach

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Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown will be the next head coach of the Troy Trojans. The school made the announcement official today via Twitter with a message letting fans know when he is expected to arrive in town. A formal announcement and introductory press conference is scheduled for Monday morning. Word of Troy hiring Brown began surfacing yesterday.

Brown has been coaching as Kentucky’s offensive coordinator for two seasons. Prior to his stint at Kentucky, Brown was an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Troy from 2008 through 2009. He had coached wide receivers for two years before that at Troy. His familiarity with the program and the success it is capable of reaching surely made him an attractive candidate for the job. His offensive mindset will be needed. Troy is 101st in total offense this season (64th in rushing offense, 90th passing). Brown will replace Larry Blakeney, who announced in October he would be stepping down as head coach at Troy at the conclusion of the regular season.

Brown will take over a program that is now a few years removed from its usual spot at the top of the Sun Belt Conference. The Trojans were accustomed to winning eight games and win at least a share of the Sun Belt crown from 2006 through 2010, but the program quickly lost momentum in 2011 with a three-win season. Troy has not had a winning season since last winning the Sun Belt in 2010, although the Trojans did manage a .500 season without a bowl trip in 2013.

Brown could also be taking over the program at an interesting point in time within the state of Alabama. With speculation about a possible shutting down of the UAB football program, Troy could benefit from the unfortunate situation by attracting a few more football players in their direction. South Alabama now being in the Sun Belt Conference, could also stand to benefit from the situation if it comes to UAB shutting down the program.

Dick MacPherson’s grandson one of six added to Sean Lewis’ first Kent State staff

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Sean Lewis‘ first staff at Kent State will come armed with a famous coaching surname.

The football program announced Monday that Lewis has hired a total of six new assistants. One of the coaching sextet is Mackey MacPherson, the grandson of former Syracuse head coach Dick MacPherson.

The younger MacPherson will coach the Golden Flashes running backs after spending the past two seasons as an offensive graduate assistant with the Orange.  Both Lewis and MacPherson were on Dino Babers‘ staff at the ‘Cuse.

The other full-time assistant hired by Lewis are as follows:

Zac Barton — special teams coordinator
Brian Cochran — defensive line
Jon Cooley — safeties coach
Matt Middleton — wide receivers coach
Bill O’Boyle — offensive line

Nearly two weeks ago, Lewis announced the hiring of his coordinators on both sides of the ball.

Western Kentucky’s Joel Iyiegbuniwe declares early for draft

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There’s a new leader in the clubhouse for “Early Entrant With the Most Vowels in his Surname.”

On his personal Twitter account over the weekend, Joel Iyiegbuniwe announced that he is leaving Western Kentucky early and making himself available for the April NFL draft. The linebacker, a native of Bowling Green, Kent., stated that he came to his decision “[a]fter much thought, prayer and discussion with my family, coaches and advisors.”

This past season, Iyiegbuniwe led the Hilltoppers in tackles with 117, tackles for loss with 11.5 and forced fumbles with three. He was named first-team All-Conference USA following the regular season.

Including last season, Iyiegbuniwe had started 27 straight games at outside linebacker for the Hilltoppers.

Today is the deadline for draft-eligible players to inform the NFL of their intentions.

Kent State announces signing of ex-Auburn QB Woody Barrett

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One day after Woody Barrett announced that he has found a new college football home, the school has confirmed as much.

Kent State sent out a press release Monday evening acknowledging that Barrett has signed with the football program. After spending the 2017 season at a Mississippi junior college, the quarterback will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.

Counting this coming season, Barrett will have three years of eligibility remaining.

“We’re excited about Woody’s potential, his ability and his raw tools both throwing and running the football,” new Golden Flashes head coach Sean Lewis said in a statement. “And we’re excited to have him on campus to be training with our team as we get ready for spring ball.”

A four-star member of Auburn’s 2016 recruiting class, Barrett was rated as the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback in the country that cycle. He took a redshirt as a true freshman, then opted to transfer from the Tigers in May of last year, ultimately ending up at the JUCO level.

At Copiah-Lincoln Community College this past season, Barrett passed for 1,294 yards and eight touchdowns in nine games, adding another 485 and six on the ground.

Michigan confirms hiring of Sherrone Moore as TEs coach

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One hole on Jim Harbaugh‘s coaching staff has been filled.

The football program confirmed Monday that Sherrone Moore has been hired and will serve as Harbaugh’s tight ends coach. Moore will replace Greg Frey, who moved on to a job on Willie Taggart‘s staff at Florida State.

The 31-year-old Moore — he’ll turn 32 in early February — spent the past four seasons coaching tight ends at Central Michigan. This past season, he added the title of assistant head coach as well as taking over as the MAC program’s recruiting coordinator.

Moore began his coaching career as an offensive graduate assistant at Louisville from 2009-12. He was promoted to tight ends coach in 2012, spending that season as well as 2013 in that role.