5 best college football coaching hires of the offseason
The college coaching carousel is still moving, but many of the bigger hires have already been sorted out. The likes of Florida State and Ole Miss have new coaches, and they’re going to have to hit the ground running to assemble recruiting classes, put together a staff, and start implementing their vision.
So which of the coaching hires so far look to be the best on paper? Here are five big standouts now that the hires have started.
5. Jeff Scott, USF
The best hire of an assistant coach so far this offseason, Scott is more than ready to be a college head coach. A long-time Clemson assistant, he’s served as co-offensive coordinator on Dabo Swinney’s staff. Importantly, he has been a key recruiter for Clemson and has ties to the state of Florida, which should help him immediately. That experience and background in recruiting is massive for a first-time coach, and it should allow him to attract good talent early on to USF. That could lead to a very quick turnaround.
4. Eliah Drinkwitz, Missouri
Drinkwitz, a Gus Malzahn protege, hopes to have a similar impact on Missouri’s program as Malzahn did on Auburn’s. The former Appalachian State coach has an excellent track record of producing explosive college offenses, successfully doing so at both Boise State and NC State as an offensive coordinator. After a 12-1 season at Appalachian State, he gets the Missouri job, a program that has slid since Gary Pinkel’s departure. Better days should be ahead for them, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.
3. Mike Norvell, Florida State
Norvell brings to Tallahassee what his predecessor, Willie Taggart, did not: a track record of success. Norvell went 38-15 in four seasons at Memphis and never had a losing campaign, posting double-digit wins twice. He kept the program strong after Justin Fuente’s departure, and in his final season, posted the school’s best season in a generation. Norvell will have to recruit Florida at a high level, but he has the pedigree that the school needs to turn things around.
2. Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss
Kiffin at Ole Miss could prove to be either a disaster or a coup, but one thing is for certain — there probably isn’t another hire that will get more attention all offseason. Kiffin is a controversial figure, but he’s been overwhelmingly successful at Florida Atlantic and seems to have toned down some of his worst instincts. What we know is that Kiffin is a big name who will make recruits pay attention, can now point to real success as a coach, and has the fanbase on his side. This could well turn out to be a very nice get for the Rebels.
1. Greg Schiano, Rutgers
No hire this offseason will immediately restore respect and prestige to a program like Schiano’s return to Rutgers. It’s been a long time since the Scarlet Knights were regular bowl contenders, but Schiano was the one who did that. It’s been nearly a decade, of course, but Schiano has stayed close to the college game through his time as an Ohio State assistant, and will still know the region well. There’s no guarantee that Schiano replicates the success of his first stint at Rutgers, especially now that he’s in the Big Ten. He is, however, a shot in the arm for a program in tatters who brings instant credibility to the job in a way that no one else they could have hired would have done.
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