George Quarles quickly is finalizing his first-ever collegiate head coaching staff with a couple of key additions and by retaining his top defensive assistant, multiple sources told FootballScoop.
At ETSU, Quarles is adding Dru Duke – a former Furman walk-on player who quickly transitioned into a coaching career – to coach the Bucs’ offensive line, after earlier Tuesday tabbing Adam Neugebauer to his offensive coordinator position, as FootballScoop’s Doug Samuels first reported.
Arguably Quarles’ biggest move, per sources, is a re-commitment to the program and an enhanced compensation package for defensive coordinator Billy Taylor, a long-time veteran of the Bucs’ program and the architect of the defense that anchored ETSU’s school-record run to the 2021 Southern Conference championship and the third round of the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs.
Taylor’s Bucs’ stop-unit ranked second in the SoCon in scoring average, at less than 23 points per game, good enough for a top-30 national finish. The group also was among the SoCon leaders in total defense and rushing defense.
With experience running defenses at UT-Chattanooga and Tennessee Tech, Taylor has been the defensive coordinator for championship teams in both the SoCon and the Ohio Valley Conference.
Quarles had prioritized Taylor’s return to the staff as Quarles puts his stamp on the ETSU program after a five-year run in roles as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at his alma mater, Furman, where Quarles had won a national championship.
Neugebauer had turned heads at the NCAA Division II level as the offensive play-caller at Slippery Rock after a decorated playing career at West Virginia Wesleyan. Neaugebauer’s offense this past season for The Rock averaged 39 points per game and helped the team win 22 contests in the past two seasons.
“Adam has an unbelievable ability to create explosive offenses,” said Anderson (Ohio) coach Evan Dreyer, a well-regarded Cincinnati-area coach who’s worked the Manning Passing Academy, as well as camps for Ohio State, Cincinnati and Kentucky. “He can recruit at an elite skill level as well as develop offensive skilled players as well as anyone.
“He has developed quarterbacks for NFL camps, as well as record-breaking wide receivers.”
In Duke, Quarles adds a young, up-and-coming coach who’s already attracted the attention of some Power 5 programs. Duke worked with Furman’s tight ends for his first full-time on-field role before shifting to the Paladins’ offense line, the same spot he’ll man for Quarles’ Bucs program.