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.

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:

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.

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  • Absolutely a home run hire. Hoke is responsible for all of Michigan’s success on DLine in the late 90s/early 2000s. He recruited pretty much their entire defense that played the past two seasons. Their entire DLine this year, which was very, very, very good, were personally brought in by Hoke.

    The man knows how to coach a DLine and knows how to evaluate and recruit defensive talent. Great hire.

    • Agree. I’m most excited about the recruiting aspect he will bring. Wish he could have be added sooner. We might have had a better chance at landing Ray, Concliffe, and Sterling had Hoke been on board.

    • Stripling I thought was a pretty good DL coach…he didn’t have much to work with this past year for injuries, but they’re still keeping him in the fold and appears he still wants to be there. It seems that Tennessee is shelling out a little money now without getting rid of Jones… 1 mil for Shoop, I’m guessing at least 500,000 for Hoke and Canales as well…trying to get on par with Alabama, Clemson etc.

      • Well its keep up or get left behind, can’t say Butch isn’t trying to do everything he can I regards to putting together a top shelf staff.

  • How far the mighty have fallen

    • Was thinking the same thing… From HBC at Michigan… to a line coach? He won’t last… either be picked up quick or will chafe working that far down the line in the staff.

  • Great hire… as bad as I hate to say it.

  • Sounds like a great hire. Anyone else see this as an insurance policy? Say for example you decide to fire Butch Jones midseason (or even next season)? You’ll have a proven recruiter with HC experience ready to step up.

    • Butch is the one that should have made this hire. He isn’t looking for his replacement, but a better coaching staff so he can keep his job.

    • Hoke may well get scooped up in a few years but without Jones we wouldn’t get Hoke. CBJ and Hoke go wayyyyy back. So no, UT didn’t hire Hoke as insurance rather Jones hired Hoke to improve the staff. Stripling was a very good DL coach for us but he was ready to retire and that had been talked about all season. With this hire and Stripling staying on in a different role, we get to have our cake and eat it too.

  • I’m not sure why we hired a supposed “elite recruiter” and former head coach. Butch has brought in a bunch of 5* hearts for our repeat next year as Life Champions. Plus Hoke kinda reminds me of Mark Mangino on Jenny Craig.

  • 31-20 career at Michigan versus clown competition in Big 10. He joins ***3/star bUTch in Knoxville. Too late. Kirby and Saban will crush them next 4 years in recruiting. Home run hire? More like a bloop single.

  • How is this a home run hire? Hope isnt same home run he had with Shoop. Shoop has been an utter disappointment. Another shaking my head move.

  • One question…..how can Strip lose his job but Mahoney keep his? O-line has been been horrible for a long dang time.