A couple of weeks after losing one of his assistants to a rival Pac-12 school, Mike Leach has found a replacement.
JaMarcus Shephard, Washington State announced in a press release, has been added by Leach to coach the Cougars’ inside receivers. Shephard will replace Dave Yost, who left earlier this month to become the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator at Oregon.
“JaMarcus is a tremendous coach and will fit nicely within our program,” said Leach. “He has great passion for coaching and recruiting, is familiar with how we attack from an offensive standpoint, and believes strongly in not only improving every day on the field but also in the classroom.”
Shephard spent the past five seasons at Western Kentucky. The first three seasons he spent as a defensive analyst, offensive quality control assistant and volunteer assistant. He was promoted to receivers coach in 2014, where he spent the past two seasons with the Hilltoppers.
That was Shepard’s first coaching job at the collegiate level.
Following up on speculation that’s been gaining steam over the past few days, Willie Taggart has officially added a Michigan staffer to his USF coaching staff.
In a press release, Taggart confirmed that T.J. Weist has been hired as his new wide receivers coach. Weist replaces Ron Dugan, who left for the same position at Miami as part of Mark Richt‘s new Hurricanes staff.
“I’ve always said, we are going to keep getting better and Coach Weist fits that bill,” Taggart said. “I’m very excited to bring somebody to our program that I know so well and that has had the experience and the success T.J. Weist has in college football. Our offense set several records in 2015, and I can’t wait to get started working on breaking them.”
Weist and Taggart have a previous working relationship, first with both being on Jack Harbaugh‘s staff at Western Kentucky — Taggart was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Weist receivers and running backs coach. The two worked together for six years with the Hilltoppers.
From 2010-12, Wweist was the receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Cincinnati. He was UConn’s coordinator in 2013 and 2014, and also served as the Huskies interim head coach after Paul Pasqualoni was fired in September of 2013.
In 2015, Weist worked as Jim Harbaugh‘s senior offensive analyst with the Wolverines.
“I am very excited to coach again with Coach Taggart and to join in a program in USF that has a very exciting future ahead of it,” Weist said. “I saw what that offense did, particularly at the end of last season, and the players coming back and I am very excited to get to work in Tampa.”
Tuesday, Western Kentucky added grad transfer Keith Brown to its roster. Two days later, the Cardinals’ linebacker pipeline has provided yet another roster addition.
Nick Dawson-Brents told the Bowling Green Daily News that he will be following his former teammate to WKY and continue his collegiate playing career with the Hilltoppers. Like his grad transferring fellow linebacker, Dawson-Brents will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.
This upcoming season will be the final year of eligibility for both players.
“The environment and the people – the coaches – it was a really great experience,” Dawson-Brents said when asked why he chose WKU as his transfer destination. “I really felt like they were genuine. I’m just ready to accept the challenge they gave me. I’m all in. I’m ready to get there and start pursuing my dream again.”
Dawson-Brents, who played in 13 games for the Cardinals last season, told the Daily News that he believes he will be moving from linebacker to defensive end with the Hilltoppers.
Dawson-Brents and Brown are actually one of three former UofL players who will suit up for WKU in 2016. In December of this past year, Tyler Ferguson transferred into the WKU football program. Because the quarterback left the Cardinals in August of 2015 and didn’t play at all this past season, he’ll be eligible to play this season.
National Signing Day isn’t for another couple weeks, but Jeff Brohm and Western Kentucky scored a significant addition Tuesday.
Former Louisville linebacker Keith Brown revealed he is moving cross-state to join the Hilltoppers as a graduate transfer. Brown announced the news on his Twitter account.
Brown appeared in all 13 games for Louisville this season, ranking 10th on the club with 33 tackles.
Late last night, Dabo Swinney took home honors as the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year. A day later, a player who was instrumental in the Clemson head coach’s 2015 success has been honored as well.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl announced Thursday that true sophomore Deshaun Watson has been awarded the Manning Award, given annually to the nation’s top quarterback. The award, named in honor of the quarterbacking Mannings — Archie, Peyton and Eli — is the only one to take into account a player’s performance in the postseason.
There were 11 other finalists for this year’s trophy: Brandon Allen (Arkansas), Trevone Boykin (TCU), Connor Cook (Michigan State), Brandon Doughty (Western Kentucky), Kevin Hogan (Stanford), Chad Kelly (Ole Miss), Paxton Lynch (Memphis), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Dak Prescott (Mississippi State), Keenan Reynolds (Navy) and Greg Ward, Jr., (Houston).
“We are honored to present this year’s Manning Award to Deshaun Watson,” Archie Manning said in a statement. “Deshaun led his team to a perfect regular season and then an impressive win in the Playoff Semifinal before his 478-yard performance in the national championship. He may not have won the title but he showed the world what an outstanding talent he is and what a tremendous competitor he is.”
Watson, a consensus All-American and Heisman finalist, becomes the third player from the ACC to win the Manning, joining Boston College’s Matt Ryan (Boston College, 2007) and Florida State’s Jameis Winston (2013).