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Sources: With staff almost complete, Brian Kelly and LSU target top SEC assistant coach

Kelly needs a wide receivers coach and is going after a rising star

SAN ANTONIO -- Brian Kelly’s inaugural LSU coaching staff is complete.

Almost. The former Notre Dame 12-year head coach, hired last month to take over for Ed Orgeron in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, recently formally announced the additions of Mike Denbrock as offensive coordinator, following Denbrock’s successful run as Cincinnati Bearcats play-caller, and Kansas City assistant Matt House, a former Kentucky defensive coordinator whose arrivals come after the conclusion of the Chiefs’ NFL playoffs run.

In fact, there’s just one position left for the Tigers’ staff, and it’s that of wide receivers coach.

Per multiple sources, Kelly’s top target is University of Georgia assistant Cortez Hankton.

A New Orleans native who spent six years in the NFL after a standout-career at Texas State, Hankton also has served as the Bulldogs’ pass game coordinator each of the past three seasons.

In late-November, an Southeastern Conference staff told FootballScoop of Hankton, “He’s coached at Vandy, Ivy League, played in the league and is sharp,” calling him a potential future head coach.

After just three years at Dartmouth, Hankton spent a trio of seasons on Derek Mason’s Vanderbilt staffs before joining Kirby Smart’s Georgia staff for the past four seasons.

Hankton and the Bulldogs face top-ranked Alabama Monday night in Indianapolis for the College Football Playoff championship; Kelly's efforts to land Hankton to complete his staff are expected to culminate in the aftermath of that game. 

Elsewhere on Kelly’s Tigers’ offensive staff, Joe Sloan is going to coach the LSU quarterbacks and Frank Wilson, the former UTSA and McNeese State head coach who’s returned to LSU, has been tabbed as associate head coach. Wilson also is expected to work with the Tigers’ running backs.

Kelly retained Brad Davis as his offensive line coach, as Davis just completed the first of a three-year deal he signed in 2021 after Davis came to the Tigers from Arkansas.

Additionally, Kelly is poised to add his former offensive line coach at Notre Dame, Jeff Quinn, into an offensive analyst role, multiple sources told FootballScoop.

The LSU defensive staff consists of House, defensive line coach and running game coordinator Jamar Cain, as well as Kerry Cooks and Robert Steeples – defensive assistants expected to split the coaching duties in the Tigers’ secondary.

Brian Polian is LSU’s new special teams coordinator on a three-year deal.