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Sources: South Carolina, Beamer on verge of losing coach to NFL

One of the most respected running backs coaches anywhere in the Southeast appears to be leaving the collegiate level to leap into the professional ranks.

Des Kitchings, a Furman alum who most recently served as South Carolina's running backs coach for most of the past year, is positioned to leave the Gamecocks to join Arthur Smith's Atlanta Falcons staff, sources on Wednesday told FootballScoop.

A long-time running backs coach at North Carolina State, where he also served briefly as the WolfPack's offensive coordinator, Kitchings also held Southeastern Conference experience at Vanderbilt.

Kitchings had been one of Shane Beamer's few holdovers on Beamer's first Gamecocks staff. Beamer was hired in December to replace the fired Will Muschamp.

Since then, the Gamecocks have seen almost their entire staff turnover – in some instances, multiple positions. Kitchings had been positioned for a raise with the Gamecocks, per sources, and also was well-liked in the athletics department, per sources in the program. Kitchings also has been consistently one of the top recruiters of overall talent and developers of running backs at the collegiate level.

Smith's been busy assembling a staff mixed with veteran NFL voices and also coaches making the transition from college into the league. He hired Dave Ragone from the Bears to be the Falcons' offensive coordinator and lured veteran Dean Pees out of retirement to run the defense.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest coaching news.