Earlier today we started a new series by looking at coaches ready to take on more responsibility — be it on their current staff or in a bigger job elsewhere — in the ACC. Now it’s the SEC’s turn.
Before we get going, a disclaimer: This list is in no particular order, and is by no means a complete and total list.
Jeremy Pruitt and Dave Aranda, Alabama and LSU defensive coordinators: These coaches share the title as the SEC’s Brent Venables — the assistants most prepared to become head coaches. Both will be head coaches at some point, the question for these million-dollar coordinators is simply when will their opportunity present itself.
Herb Hand and Tim Horton, Auburn offensive line and special teams coaches: Both of these guys are extremely respected and well liked among their peers and well-traveled in the profession. Both are happy where they are but, if they so choose, could go the lower-level head coach/Power 5 coordinator track soon.
Tosh Lupoi, Alabama co-defensive coordinator/outside linebackers coach: Lupoi is paid extremely well for what he does, because he produces on Signing Day and on the field. When he takes his first Power 5 coordinator job is entirely up to him.
Travaris Robinson, South Carolina defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach: Robinson has been with Will Muschamp at three stops now — Florida, Auburn and South Carolina. And at each stop Muschamp has handed Robinson more responsibility on the head coach’s own side of the ball. That should tell you something.
Chris Rumph, Florida defensive coordinator: Rumph has coached defensive lines for Clemson, Alabama, Texas and Florida was promoted to defensive coordinator upon Randy Shannon’s ascension to interim head coach. This month will be a great showcase opportunity for a proven recruiter ready to show he can be a Power 5 coordinator.
Mel Tucker, Georgia defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach: What’s not to like here? Tucker GA’d for Nick Saban at Michigan State, won a national championship on Jim Tressel’s staff at Ohio State, spent a decade in the NFL and has now thrived in the Saban-Smart tree coaching defense and, specifically, defensive backs. Tucker could be an FBS head coach a month and a half from now.
Bryan McClendon, South Carolina co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach: McClendon’s peers selected him as the FootballScoop Running Backs Coach of the Year at Georgia, and now he’s excelling as South Carolina’s wideouts coach. This smart, personable coach will excel for anyone smart enough to hire him.
Brad Davis, Florida offensive line coach: Florida will have a new head coach in a month. If that head coach does not retain Davis, his services should go to the top of the list for any staff looking to hire an offensive line coach. His work at North Texas in 2016 was fantastic and players respond to him.
Darin Hinshaw, Kentucky co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach: Hinshaw has been tied at the hip with Eddie Gran for the past five seasons, three at Cincinnati and the past two at Kentucky. That pair helped Mark Stoops get over the 5-7 hump, reaching the Gator Bowl last year and hit 6-2 through eight games this year. Hinshaw is ready to run his own offense at the Power 5 level.
Chris Marve, Vanderbilt inside linebackers coach: Marve is essentially Mr. Vanderbilt Football. A 4-year starter and 2-time team captain, Marve joined the staff as a QC in 2014, moved to a GA spot in ’15, then joined the full-time staff last season — where he immediately helped Zach Cunningham become the best linebacker in college football. The Vanderbilt staff thinks the world of him.
Jason Jones, Ole Miss co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach: Jones has a lengthy history coaching cornerbacks successfully — at Rice, Tulsa, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss — where success came hand-in-hand. He was given responsibility over the whole secondary this season and, like Davis, will be highly valued if the new Ole Miss head coach does not retain him.
Corey Raymond, LSU defensive backs coach: Raymond is a personable coach whom players love playing for. Many of those players go on to become high NFL draft picks.
Brett Elliott, Mississippi State quarterbacks coach: Elliott rose the ranks in Dan Mullen’s organization, from a GA to QC before becoming offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at James Madison in 2015 (he was a co-OC) and Texas State in 2016. He returned to Starkville this season and has helped Nick Fitzgerald lead the Bulldogs to a 6-2 start. Anyone looking for help with their quarterbacks would be wise to give him a call.