Mark Snyder

Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun coming back in 2015

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Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun, one of the top defensive players in the Big Ten, will be back for another year. Michigan State announced Calhoun’s decision to return for his senior season Sunday morning.

Calhoun was Michigan State’s leader in sacks with 8.0 sacks in 2014, which was also good for this in the Big Ten. He also led the Spartans in tackles for a loss with 12.5. His return to the defensive line gives Michigan State an experienced threat in the trenches that should continue to be a bother for opposing offensive linemen in the Big Ten in 2015.

Calhoun’s announcement came during a Sunday morning press conference that also served as a chance to introduce new linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Mark Snyder.

Michigan State announces hire of Mark Snyder as special teams coordinator

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Mark Dantonio and Mark Snyder only worked together for three years as co-defensive coordinators at Ohio State. However, their previous relationship was enough for Dantonio to turn toward Snyder to fill a major opening on Michigan State’s coaching staff.

After five years of calling defensive plays for the Texans A&M Aggies and South Florida Bulls, Snyder was offered a different position by Dantonio.

Michigan State University released a statement Friday that Snyder will take over as the program’s linebackers coach and special teams coordinator.

“I think on every staff, there needs to be check and balances,” Dantonio said in the statement. “Mark Snyder has done it all in his career: he’s been a linebackers coach, a front-seven coach, a defensive line coach in the Big Ten, a head coach, and a coordinator. So he’s a big picture guy, and also understands the value of special teams. I expect him to be that checks and balances part of our front seven.”

The first report that linked Snyder to Michigan State surfaced Thursday, but it wasn’t clear exactly what role he would serve on the Spartans staff.

Apparently, the coaches’ shared experience from a decade ago was enough for Dantonio to name Snyder the team’s new special coordinator even though the former defensive coordinator hasn’t officially served in that role since he was an assistant coach with the Youngstown State Penguins in the mid-1990’s.

“When we first had this opening, I made a short list of the coaches that I’ve worked with in the past that fit this position, and there were very few,” Dantonio said. “He did a tremendous job at linebackers coach at Ohio State and also with special teams. We were together for three years in the staff room and on the practice fields. There’s a lot of vocabulary and terminology that are similar in our defense.”

Snyder will coach linebackers alongside recently promoted co-defensive coordinator Mike Tressel, and the former Texas A&M coach was excited for the opportunity to join Michigan State’s staff.

“The one thing about Coach Dantonio that has always stood out to me is that he’s so competitive and such a fundamentalist,” said Snyder. “I had a chance to work with him for three years at Ohio State and learned so much football from him. As an outsider looking in, Michigan State is right there as a national brand, and I think a lot of that has to do with Coach Dantonio and how he’s handled everything. He’s done an absolutely tremendous job of branding Michigan State’s football program. For my family to get a chance to get back to the Midwest, and also be with him and his family, we thought it was a great opportunity for us.”

Two of three million-dollar assistant coaches reside in SEC

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While much of the coaching discussion regarding contracts this week has centered on a potential bidding war for Nick Saban between Alabama and Texas, keep in mind assistant coaches are getting some pretty decent paychecks as well.

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is the highest paid assistant coach in college football. Clemson’s assistant coach is earning $1,309,650 in 2013 according to a recent database compiled by USA Today. Two other assistant coaches are making seven digits as well.

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart ($1.15 million) and LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis ($1.116 million). Of the top ten highest paid assistant coaches, five reside in the SEC. Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, and Texas A&M’s Mark Snyder are among the top ten highest paid assistant coaches.

Clemson is paying top dollar for their coaching staff. In addition to Morris, the Tigers are also shelling out a reported $800,000 for defensive coordinator Brent Venables. Clemson’s investment in the coaching staff has not come without a plan. The Tigers made a clear investment in their staff to keep the program in a competitive footing in the ACC and as a national championship contender. Over the last three seasons Clemson has won an ACC championship, won a Chick-fil-A Bowl against LSU and is heading back to the BCS to play Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.

Michigan is also paying big bucks for their assistant coaches, with defensive coordinator Greg Mattison ($851,400) and offensive coordinator Al Borges ($709,300) each falling in the top ten.

So, which school is getting the most bang for their buck among the highest paid assistants? Michigan seems to be tanking dollars considering the amount they are paying their top two assistant coaches.

You can view the entire database via USA Today.