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Ranking the best assistant coaching hires of the week

Herb Hand
Herb Hand (

MORE: Three-Point Stance - Grading the CFB coaching hires

With no more major college head coach openings the coaching carousel has officially stopped. But with the addition of a 10th on-field assistant job at FBS schools and the Early Signing Period triggering moves earlier than normal, the assistant coaching market is hotter than ever.

In the latest installment of our weekly series, we rank the best assistant coach hires at Power Five programs from the past week from a recruiting perspective and name our assistant coach hire of the week. National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell also weighs in on each of the week’s best hires.

NOTE: Not all hirings have been officially announced, but have been reported by multiple outlets.


Hand comes to Texas after a two-year stint at Auburn, but he has been all over the country as a head coach, including spending time at Clemson, West Virginia, Vanderbilt and Penn State. During his time with the Nittany Lions he helped develop eventual second-round NFL draft pick Donovan Smith, and during his time at Vanderbilt he helped recruit and develop eventual fifth-round draft pick Wesley Johnson.

Local take: “Getting Hand from Auburn was a big development for a Texas program that has really struggled with its offensive line play in recent years. Hand has connections all over the country, particularly in the Southeast, after recent stops at Vanderbilt, Penn State and Auburn, which could benefit Texas in years when the in-state talent is down. His hire is already paying off, with graduate transfer offensive tackle (Calvin Anderson) raving about spending time with Hand during an official visit over the weekend. Hand will be the Longhorns' fourth offensive line coach in four years, so with any luck, he'll bring some much-needed stability to the position as well.” – Jason Suchomel,

Farrell’s take: “A well-respected offensive line coach who has recruited at a high level and knows how to sell big-time football. The on-field product will improve, based on his past success, and he’s an effective recruiter. Not a dynamic guy, just very good and straightforward."


Terry Joseph – Notre Dame (Safeties)

Joseph came up through the high school ranks in Louisiana before breaking into Power Five coaching with Tennessee in 2010. Since then, he’s bounced to several major programs, with stops at Nebraska, Texas A&M and most recently North Carolina. Some of the notable players Joseph has recruited or coached include former Texas A&M players and eventual NFL Draft picks Brandon Williams and Justin Evans.

Farrell’s take: “Joseph is known as a young and aggressive recruiter who can relate well to players with his youthful approach. He’s also been a very good defensive backs coach for some big programs, so that experience could help.”

Ed Warriner – Michigan (Position TBD)

Warriner is a longtime assistant who comes to the Wolverines after a one-year stint at Minnesota. But his Big Ten roots run deep, with a past stop at Illinois on his resume and several seasons at Ohio State before he departed for the Gophers. While he has held the title of offensive coordinator at several schools, he’s best known for his ability to develop offensive linemen, including players like Corey Linsley, Jack Mewhort and Andrew Norwell - all current NFL players he helped tutor at Ohio State.

Farrell’s take: “He’s been around for a long time, is very well-respected and he has worked at some big schools. This is an interesting one, because he’s already being talked about for a coaching job in the NFL. But if you’re Michigan, you can’t do much better, as he will improve the offensive line play and will recruit at a high level.”

Peter Sirmon – California (linebackers)

Sirmon comes to Cal after stops at Louisville and Mississippi State in recent years. The former Oregon star had a lengthy NFL career and has also worked at USC, Tennessee and Washington. During his time with the Trojans, Sirmon helped recruit elite linebacker Cameron Smith and is also credited with helping develop eventual second- round NFL draft pick Su’a Cravens.

Farrell’s take: “An excellent defensive coach and top-notch recruiter, he’s a big get for Cal. He’s recruited high-level prospects at some big schools, played in the NFL so he can sell that experience and he’s been a defensive coordinator. His familiarity with Justin Wilcox and his style will help.”

Josh Gattis - Alabama (wide receivers)

Gattis comes to the Tide from Penn State, where he spent the last four years coaching receivers and helped spearhead the school’s recruiting efforts. He also spent time at Vanderbilt, where he is credited with helping Jordan Matthews develop into one of the SEC’s all-time leading receivers and an eventual second-round NFL Draft pick.

Farrell’s take: “A very good talent evaluator from his days at Vanderbilt and a very good recruiter from his days at Penn State, he’s a good combination of both and a young guy who can relate to players. He’s also a very good on-field coach.”

David Kelly – Florida State (wide receivers)

A longtime college coach, Kelly worked his way up from the high school ranks in Georgia before stops at Georgia, UCF, USF and others. He spent last season working in an off-field role at Oregon, but returns to the field and reunites with Willie Taggart in Tallahassee. Known for his eye for talent, Kelly helped recruit Breshad Perriman to UCF, where he developed into an eventual first-round NFL Draft pick.

Farrell’s take: “Kelly has been around the world of coaching for a long time and has been known as a great recruiter for most of his career. A Top 25 Rivals recruiter, he’s recruited at some major programs, has NFL experience and knows the ins and outs of talent evaluation, as well as having tenacity in the big recruiting battles.”