Home run hire? Tennessee reportedly landing one of the nation's top recruiters in defensive line coach Brady Hoke
Tennessee’s offseason of assistant coach swapping continues as the Vols are expected to announce former Michigan head coach Brady Hoke as the team’s new defensive line coach, according to multiple reports.
Hoke becomes the latest member to join Butch Jones’ Tennessee staff this offseason following the addition of defensive backs coach Charlton Warren from North Carolina, quarterbacks coach Mike Canales from North Texas, along with the in-house promotion of tight ends coach Larry Scott to offensive coordinator.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 6, 2017FREE DOWNLOAD FROM SDS
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To make room for Hoke, Tennessee will reportedly be moving former defensive line coach Steve Stripling to an off-the-field role with the football program, per 247Sports. Last season, Hoke worked as Oregon’s defensive coordinator and before landing the Michigan job, he was the head coach at San Diego State and Ball State.
In 2008, Hoke led his alma mater Ball State to its first 12-win season and its first ranking in school history. The team rose as high as No. 12 in the nation before losing in the MAC title game. Hoke took over a San Diego State team that had went 2-10 in 2008 and led the school to a 9-4 by 2010. Hoke landed the Michigan job the following offseason and helped led the Wolverines to an 11-2 record his first season, which featured a Sugar Bowl win. Hoke coached in Ann Arbor for four seasons and was fired after a 31-20 overall record.
One area Hoke is expected to immediately pay dividends for the Vols is on the recruiting trail. NFL.com ranks Michigan as the school with the most draft-eligible talent for the 2017 NFL Draft, over Alabama, with as many 16 potential draft selections on the roster. All 16 players were recruited under Hoke’s watch at Michigan. Before being named head coach at Michigan, Hoke was an assistant at the school at recruited Tom Brady to Ann Arbor.
During his tenure as head coach at Michigan, Hoke’s three full recruiting classes ranked No. 6 nationally in 2012, No. 4 nationally in 2013 and No. 20 nationally in 2014. While Jim Harbaugh and his staff deserve the credit for developing much of that talent, Hoke’s ability to sign so many elite prospects is impressive in itself.
One question that may arise with this hire, is how Hoke will adjust as a defensive line coach after being such an experienced head coach or defensive coordinator. Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports is one foresees a smooth adjustment:
Brady Hoke won Coach of the Year honors in 3 different leagues, but his roots are as a DL guy. He should be a good addition for the #Vols.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 6, 2017
Hoke started his college coaching career as a defensive line coach at Grand Valley State in 1983 and coached the position all the way until 2003 when he landed his first head coaching job at Ball State. Hoke coached Michigan’s defensive line for the 1997 national championship team and eventually rose to become Lloyd Carr’s only associate head coach in his final season as an assistant in Ann Arbor.
While Hoke becomes the biggest name to join the Tennessee staff this offseason, he may not be the last, as speculation regarding the futures of offensive line coach Don Mahoney (his contract is soon set to expire) and linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen are questionable heading into spring football.