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Sources confirm Tennessee preparing to add special teams, OLB coach

Not quite five weeks to the day of his hiring on Rocky Top, new Tennessee coach Josh Heupel is nearing completion of his inaugural staff.

Sources confirm to FootballScoop that Heupel and the Vols are in the closing stages of adding Mike Ekeler to the Tennessee staff.

Ekeler's poised to lead both Tennessee's special teams and coach outside linebackers on a two-year deal in new coordinator Tim Banks' defense, per sources with direct knowledge.

Austin Price of first reported Ekeler's expected hiring at Tennessee.

Ekeler's SEC experience is deep; he owns previous stops at both Georgia and LSU.

Additionally, Ekeler's worked in the Big 12 at Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma before he most recently served on staff at the University of North Texas.

A Kansas State graduate who played for fabled Wildcats coach Bill Snyder, Ekeler also has ACC experience at North Carolina and Big Ten experience at Indiana.

Once finalized, Ekeler's arrival will give Heupel a complete on-field staff. Tennessee hired Heupel Jan. 27 to replace the fired Jeremy Pruitt.

The Vols and Heupel also recently added Brian Jean-Mary as inside linebackers coach in Banks' defense and placed Willie Martinez back on Rocky Top as a defensive assistant in the secondary.

Tennessee also formally added Rodney Garner last month as their defensive line coach.

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