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Heupel adding Director of Competition Development at Tennessee


Josh Heupel is continuing to fill out his University of Tennessee staff, most recently in a critical off-the-field role.

Heupel is tabbing Kurt Schmidt as his Director of Competition Development on the Volunteers' staff. Heupel and the Vols' most pressing staffing need at the moment is that of defensive coordinator, which sources told FootballScoop on Thursday was expected to be completed "before the end of the weekend."

For Schmidt, his new Tennessee role is the same post Schmidt held throughout Heupel's three-year tenure at Central Florida. The two briefly worked together at Missouri, where Schmidt was the Tigers' Director of Applied Performance for Football.

Schmidt followed Heupel to Orlando to help run strength and conditioning for the Knights' football program.

A Wisconsin-La Crosse undergrad with a master's degree from Louisville, Schmidt also owns experience in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers. He previously worked in the SEC during a five-year stint at Arkansas from 2008-12.

Schmidt's arrival does not impact the status of incumbent Vols strength head, A.J. Artis. He is staying in his role of Director of Sports Performance for Football, sources confirmed to FootballScoop.

The arrival of Schmidt finally brings back to full-strength Tennessee's strength and conditioning staff for football. The Vols had operated down one person even before Byron Jerideau departed UT for a spot on staff at his alma mater, South Carolina, last month with first-year coach Shane Beamer.

Recently, Tennessee hired Rhett Brooks for an assistant strength position. A highly regarded young strength coach with previous stops on the staffs at Arkansas and SMU, as well as Clemson and UNLV, Brooks actually was the first arrival of Tennessee's sudden Central Florida infusion. Brooks was hired into the Vols' athletics department prior to the exits of both football coach Jeremy Pruitt and Phillip Fulmer.

Heupel is continuing to form his initial Tennessee staff. He has tabbed multiple former UCF offensive assistants to new roles on Rocky Top and also has worked to fill out his recruiting department.

Tennessee is starting anew in its football recruiting operations after the entire staff was fired last month in the midst of the school's ongoing internal investigation. The NCAA also is looking into Tennessee's alleged recruiting misconduct under Pruitt.