UT-San Antonio Roadrunners

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 03:  Quarterback Blake Bogenschutz #4 of the UTSA Roadrunners throws a pass during the first quarter of the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 3, 2015 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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‘Concussion-like symptoms’ force UTSA QB Blake Bogenschutz to retire

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In his first year at the helm, Frank Wilson won’t have a record-setting quarterback at his disposal.

In a press release Tuesday, UT-San Antonio officials announce that Blake Bogenschutz will be forced to retire from football because of injury. Specifically, the school stated in the reelase, “Bogenschutz has been advised by team doctors to give up football due to lingering concussion-like symptoms.”

Bogenschutz missed the last seven games of the 2015 season after sustaining a concussion in the Oct. 3 Conference USA opener vs. UTEP.

“This has been one of the toughest situations, if not the toughest, that I have encountered over the course of my life,” Bogenschutz said in a lengthy and heartfelt statement. “As much as I love football, I respect the doctors’ decision to end my career. Despite my strong love and passion for the game, I have come to peace and realization that my health is more important than a game. I find peace in that I played every down with all of my heart and always left everything I had out on the field.

“Concussions are a serious deal in this day and age and I have learned that first-hand. My mind and heart are on good terms with walking away from it all knowing that it could’ve easily gotten worse.

“I would like to thank everyone who supported me in chasing my dreams throughout the course of my football career. Football has taught me so much about life and I will forever be grateful for the lessons, friendships and memories that it brought to my life over the last eight years. I have faith that this is God’s plan for me and I strongly believe that there are still better days ahead. I’ll always be a Roadrunner and will continue to be here for my teammates as we strive to better ourselves as a team and family.”

Bogenschutz played in three games, including one start, as a true freshman in 2014 before sustaining a season-ending injury, leading to him being awarded a medical reshirt.

As a redshirt freshman the following season, Bogenschutz started the first five games before the head injury. In the opener against Arizona, Bogenschutz passed for a school-record 332 and set another program standard with 363 yards of offense. In eight games spanning parts of two seasons, Bogenschutz passed for 1,179 yards and four touchdowns.

While his Roadrunner playing career has come to an end, his time with the program hasn’t as Bogenschutz will remain on scholarship and serve as a student assistant coach.

“We are ecstatic that Blake will remain a part of the UTSA football program as a student assistant,” head coach Frank Wilson said. “It certainly is an unfortunate situation that he will no longer be able to play the game he loves, but we are very fortunate that he will continue to be a part of the UTSA family. His input, knowledge and work ethic exemplifies everything we look for in a student-athlete and to be able to keep him around the program in a vital role in practice and game day preparation is something that we’re very excited about.”

LSU fullback following Frank Wilson to UTSA

New University of Texas at San Antonio NCAA college football coach Frank Wilson, left, stands with UTSA President Dr. Ricardo Romo, right, following a news conference, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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LSU fullback Ronnie Feist will follow his former position coach, Frank Wilson, to UTSA. Wilson was recently named the new head coach of the UTSA football program. Feist announced his decision to transfer on his Instagram account on Thursday.

Feist graduated from LSU in December, which means he can move to UTSA and be eligible to play immediately under the NCAA’s graduate transfer rules. He should fit right in and make a case for some significant playing time in his final year of eligibility, and having the familiarity with his new head coach should make for a smooth transition. It may also help establish Feist as a leader on the UTSA program.

Feist has also played linebacker during his time at LSU. He was moved to fullback in 2015, although his playing time was limited with Leonard Fournette getting the bulk of the rushing attempts out of LSU’s backfield. With Fournette back for the 2016 season in Baton Rouge, snaps as a contributor figure to be low for everyone on LSU’s roster, so pursuing a fresh opportunity for Feist makes sense.

Smart, Richt currently pace all new head coaches in recruit rankings

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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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.

UTSA officially hires LSU RBs coach Frank Wilson as head coach

Frank Wilson
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And then there were none.

Entering the home stretch of the second full week of the new year, there was still one FBS head coaching job available. Friday, that job was officially deemed unavailable as UT-San Antonio confirmed that Frank Wilson has been hired as its next head football coach. The school is planning to hold a 3:30 p.m. ET press conference this afternoon to officially introduce Wilson.

Wilson replaces Larry Coker, who abruptly retired 10 days ago after being the only head coach in the Roadrunners’ history. Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer was also reportedly a finalist for the job as Coker’s replacement.

The past six seasons, Wilson has served as the running backs coach at LSU. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, he was Les Miles‘ recruiting coordinator. Wilson is widely regarding regarded as one of the nation’s best in the latter role, taking home Rivals.com‘s Recruiter of the Year honors in 2011.

One of his top recruits, Leonard Fournette, reacted to the reports from Thursday night that his position coach was leaving.

This will be Wilson’s first head coaching job at the collegiate level. His first head coaching job, at a New Orleans high school, is quite the inspiring success story both on and off the field.