Texas State Bobcats

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


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

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.

Texas State’s Will Trevillion passes away at age 20

Will Trevillion
Texas State athletics
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A football program already dealing with a change in head coach now has a tragedy with which to deal.

Texas State confirmed late Wednesday night that lineman Will Trevillion had passed away earlier in the day at his home in Austin.  The sophomore was just 20 years old.

According to multiple media outlets, there’s no official determination as to the cause of death, although an autopsy has been ordered. KXAN News writes that it has “learned that [Trevillion] had a medical procedure a few months ago after having trouble breathing.”

Trevillion played in 14 games the past two seasons for the Bobcats.

Texas State names James Madison’s Everett Withers as head coach

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 22:  Everett Withers, North Carolina's interim head coach is seen on the field during the game against the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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Texas State has named Everett Withers as its head coach, the program announced Wednesday night.

Withers arrives in San Marcos after two seasons as the head coach at FCS James Madison.

Withers went 19-7 in two seasons at JMU, reaching the FCS playoffs in each season. His 2015 Dukes team finished second nationally in scoring and in the top 10 in both rushing and passing efficiency.

That offensive expertise should come in handy for a Bobcats team that finished 120th in scoring this fall. Texas State recently completed its fourth season as an FBS member; the Bobcats went 7-5 last season but were not selected for a bowl game. The club fell to 3-9 this fall, prompting Dennis Franchione‘s resignation just before Christmas.

Withers is a North Carolina native that spent most of his career in that area of the country; most fans may know him from his 7-6 season as North Carolina’s interim head coach in 2011. The 52-year-old was Urban Meyer‘s defensive coordinator his first two seasons at Ohio State and also has coordinator experience at Louisville, Minnesota and North Carolina.

Withers’ Texas experience is limited to a three-year stint as an assistant on Mack Brown‘s original staff up the road in Austin from 1998-00.

With Chip Kelly now a free agent, is a return to college football in the works?


After 26 wins and one NFC East title in three seasons, the Philadelphia Eagles have fired Chip Kelly. For more on why it happened and what it means, allow me to direct you to our friends at ProFootballTalk.

But now, for the one question that truly matters: does this mean he’ll be back in college football?

Maybe, maybe not. But it definitely won’t happen immediately.

The FBS job market at the moment resembles the Wal-Mart TV aisle at 5 p.m. on Black Friday, with only Ball State and Texas State open.

That could change, though. In their infinite wisdom, athletics directors can usually be counted on to turn at least one disappointing bowl loss into a surprise firing (Auburn? Texas A&M?). And we can count on one NFL team trying its hand at hiring a college coach (UCLA? Notre Dame?). In the event either or both happen, Kelly’s representatives will receive a call in a De'Anthony Thomas footstep.

Of course, there is the issue of whether the man in question would even want to return to college football. He is said to have not enjoyed recruiting or the dog-and-pony show that comes with appeasing the egos of 16-year-old running backs and 56-year-old boosters. If Kelly is determined to stay in the NFL, the Tennessee Titans and their rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota represent an opportunity that makes too much sense not to happen.

But in the event the NFL views Kelly as too radioactive to hire immediately after the Eagles dumped him and no college vacancy pops open in January that tickles his fancy, brace yourself for an 11-month courting where programs that considered firing their coaches in 2015 but didn’t (LSU? Texas?) and those with reason to become unhappy with their coach (USC?) to line up for the opportunity to pay the former Oregon coach in the neighborhood of $7 million a year to lead their team.

Which, in turn, would then ramp up another round of speculation of when Kelly inevitably returns to the NFL. And ’round and ’round we go.