Category: North Texas Mean Green

CORAL GABLES, FL - DECEMBER 04:  New University of Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt makes the 'U' sign after he was introduced at a press conference at the school on December 4, 2015 in Coral Gables, Florida.  (Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images)
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Smart, Richt currently pace all new head coaches in recruit rankings

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In somewhat of an ironic twist, the head coach who was forced to leave Georgia and the coach who replaced him are doing quite well on the recruiting trail at their new programs.  In fact, they’re doing better than any other who found a landing spot in the 2015-16 spinning of the coaching carousel.

As it stands now, Miami’s Mark Richt has the 19th-ranked recruiting class according to Rivals.com, the second-best of any of the  27 head coaches hired in the past three months.  The best?  Georgia, which has the No. 15 class thanks in part to Kirby Smart, Richt’s successor in Athens.

UGA right now, though, and fully understanding that there are nearly two weeks left until National Signing Day, is nine spots behind the No. 6 class Richt signed in 2015.  The U, meanwhile, was ranked 26th for Al Golden‘s last class, a full seven spots behind were Richt stands now.

Not surprisingly, a significant number of programs have seen their recruiting rankings dip from a year ago.  One of the most glaring is that of USC.  Despite offensive coordinator Clay Helton taking over as interim head coach in mid-October and then taking over permanently in late November, USC has just the 23rd-ranked class; last year at this time, the Trojans were well on their way to having Rivals’ No. 1 class under Steve Sarkisian.

Of the 27 head coaches new to their teams, 17 have classes that are ranked lower than their predecessors from a year ago.  The biggest drop belongs to Seth Littrell‘s North Texas (127th currently, 90th in 2015), while that ignominious honor for Power Five programs goes to Dave Odom and Missouri (59th, 27th).

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Matt Campbell has taken his new team on one of the biggest rises, lifting Iowa State from No. 69 under the departed Paul Rhoads to No. 52.  Interestingly, Campbell’s successor at Toledo, UT offensive coordinator Jason Candle, has the Rockets at 73rd, 17 spots higher than his predecessor’s 90th-ranked class of a year ago.

Below are the 27 newest head coaches, with where their teams rank now in the recruiting rankings compared to a year ago:

2016 New HC Recruit Rankings

Eli Howard leaving N. Texas, will transfer to Texas Tech

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Kevin Patrick left North Texas for a job on Kliff Kingsbury‘s Texas Tech coaching staff earlier this month, a move that became official Wednesday.  As it turns out, one of the defensive line coach’s former players has followed him to Lubbock.

This past weekend, reports began to surface that Eli Howard would be transferring from UNT to Tech.  On Twitter Thursday, the defensive end’s mother confirmed that her son would indeed be transferring to the Red Raiders.

At least initially, Howard won’t be a scholarship; rather, he’ll join the team as a walk-on.

Howard was a two-star member of the Mean Green’s 2015 recruiting class, as were all but two members of that 26-player class.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

Two hires leaves Kliff Kingsbury with one hole to fill on Tech staff

Bulldog Football vs FIU, Saturday, 9/26/2015, Ruston, LA, photo by Donny J Crowe, Copyright:Louisiana Tech University.All Rights Reserved.(dcrowe@latech.edu) 318-257-4854
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Two down, one to go.

With three openings on his Texas Tech coaching staff at the beginning of the day, Kliff Kingsbury officially filled two of them by the end of the day with the additions of Jabbar Juluke and Kevin Patrick. The former will coach Red Raider running backs, the latter the defensive line.

Juluke spent the past three seasons as the running backs coach at Louisiana Tech. That job with the Bulldogs was his first at the collegiate level as he spent the first 18 years of his coaching career at the high school level in New Orleans.

Obviously, this will be Juluke’s first coaching foray into the Power Five world.

“We are extremely excited to add Coach Juluke to our staff,” Kingsbury said. “With his recruiting ties, energy and coaching experience, he is a valuable addition to our program.”

Patrick, meanwhile, was the defensive line coach at North Texas in 2014 and 2015. For six years prior to that, he was a defensive line coach at USF. He began his coaching career with the Bulls as an assistant in charge of defensive ends in 1996, but then left that post in 1998 and spent 11 years in private business before rejoining the program in 2008.

“We are extremely excited to add Coach Patrick to our staff,” Kingsbury said. “He has coached and developed some of the best defensive lineman in college football. He brings a wealth of experience and will be a great addition to our program.”

With the additions of Patrick and Juluke, Kingsbury now has one hole to fill on his staff, that of a defensive assistant.

Bryce English transfers from K-State to North Texas to be closer to cancer-stricken dad

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A month after transferring to be closer to an ailing family member, Bryce English has found a new college football home closer to his actual home.

In the same press release that confirmed the expected, that quarterback Alec Morris had transferred in, North Texas also announced that English has officially been added to the Mean Green’s roster. The defensive lineman decided to leave Kansas State in mid-December after his father was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer.

Normally, English would be forced to sit out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. However, because of his father’s health, English will apply for, and very likely be granted, a hardship waiver that would give him immediate eligibility.

Counting 2016, if the waiver is granted, English would have four seasons of eligibility remaining.

English was a three-star member of KSU’s 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 30 tackle in the country and the No. 66 player at any position in the state of Texas. Only one player in K-State’s most recent class was rated higher than English — four-star defensive back Duke Shelley.

The new addition to the Mean Green took a redshirt as a true freshman.

As for Morris, it had previously been confirmed that he would be transferring to UNT. As he would be coming in as a grad transfer, he would be eligible to compete immediately for the starting job in Seth Littrell‘s first season as head coach. This upcoming season will be Morris’ final year of eligibility.

Another potential transfer addition at the position, DeVante Kincade, stated earlier this month that UNT is his top choice. However, the addition of the Ole Miss transfer, who would have to sit out 2016 before using his final season in 2017, remains a fluid situation.

Spinning of 2015-16 coaching carousel comes to a halt (probably)

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 07:  Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans before the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Los Angeles Coliseum on November 7, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The 2015-16 head-coaching carousel began spinning August 28 of last year with Illinois’ firing of Tim Beckman. Exactly 141 days later, the hiring of Frank Wilson by UT-San Antonio has brought it to a halt. Probably.

Barring an unexpected firing by an FBS program or an NFL team swooping in to steal a coach, it’s come time, I think, to sit back and take a look at how this year’s version of the carousel has shaken out.

All told, 26 FBS teams will head into the 2016 with head coaches who did not begin the 2015 season in that capacity — Bill Cubit, the Illini’s interim coach after Beckman’s firing, was ultimately named as the permanent head coach and would be considered a 27th. That’s a significant jump from the recent past, with 2013 yielding 19 changes and “just” 15 in 2014. Of this cycle’s changes, 13 came at Power Five programs — nine as the result of dismissals, four because of retirements.

That, of course, means 14 openings came from the Group of Five schools; not surprisingly, the Power Five movement had an impact on that group as four G5 head coaches left for the same job with P5 teams, while another, Ball State’s Pete Lembo, left to become an assistant at a P5 program. Six of the remaining holes were created by firings, while two more jobs in that group came open because of retirements. The lone remaining? Willie Fritz left Georgia Southern to take over at Tulane.

Of the openings, eight were filled by coaches who were defensive coordinators in 2015, and another eight by offensive coordinators.  That is quite the turnaround from a year ago, when just one DC, Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi to Pittsburgh, became a head coach, while five of their offensive brethren landed head-coaching jobs.

The next group could be called the Noah’s Ark of the carousel, coming from their 2015 jobs in twos: interim head coaches (Cubit, USC’s Clay Helton), FCS head coaches (Louisiana-Monroe’s Matt Viator, Texas State’s Everett Withers) and running backs coach (Bowling Green’s Mike Jinks, Wilson).

Finally, one NFL assistant made the move back to the collegiate ranks: Mike Neu, who left the New Orleans Saints to take over for Lembo at Ball State.

And with that, I (probably) wash my hands of the ’15-’16 carousel, knowing full well that it’ll all begin again another 10 months or so — or seven months, if another program decides to pull a preseason Illini.