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Coaching Big Board: Safeties Coach

Nothing like a big board, folks.

Kent State v Penn State

With Tim Banks’ move from Penn State to Tennessee, it has opened up a spot on the Nittany Lions coaching staff. Like was the case with Tyler Bowen, Banks leaves behind a co-coordinator role which could be used ($$$) to entice candidates. Additionally, Brent Pry has coached (and played) safety before, so I don’t think it’s completely out of the realm of possibility that Pry takes over safety, while giving the linebacker gig to the incoming coach.

With that being said, let’s just focus on Penn State hiring a safeties coach. Here are some names that make sense.

School: Rutgers
Position: Defensive Backs Coach
Age: 39 years old

Brown is at the very top of the list for me. He’s young, has incredibly strong ties to the area (has coached at Temple or Rutgers since 2011 outside of a two-year stop at Baylor), and served as a co-DC previously (Temple 2019) which I think is extremely valuable. He’d be a strong recruiter in Penn State’s natural stomping grounds, especially in New Jersey.

School: NC State
Position: Cornerbacks Coach
Age: 52 years old

Mitchell has been a defensive back coach since 1994, having stops at BYU, Texas Tech, East Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, and now NC State — the last 11 of those years coming in the Mid-Atlantic region. He also had a stint as a defensive coordinator (three seasons with ECU), which again, is valuable.

School: East Carolina
Position: Safeties
Age: 30

Weaver checks a lot of the boxes: ties to the Mid-Atlantic (coached at James Madison as well), strong recruiter, and defensive coordinator experience (Western Carolina). 30 is very, very young, but Weaver’s resume speaks for itself.

School: Ohio
Position: Cornerbacks Coach
Age: 34 years old

After bouncing around the NFL and CFL for a couple years, Smith broke into the coaching ranks as a graduate assistant at Michigan State in 2014. By 2017, Smith parlayed his time in East Lansing to the cornerbacks job at Ohio. He’s certainly on the younger side, but after four seasons with the Bobcats, Smith is certainly ready for a Power Five gig.

Organization: New Orleans Saints
Position: Defensive Assistant
Age: 34 years old

If a strong DMV recruiter is what you want, look no further than Robinson. He bounced around college jobs — Toledo (2016), Temple (2017), Rutgers (2018), and Maryland (2019) — before taking a “defensive assistant” role with the New Orleans Saints. But Robinson originally bursted onto the scenes as a high school coach, coaching at Calvert Hall from 2009-2013 (Adrian Amos, Trevor Williams, and Da’Quan Davis all graduates) and St. Frances in 2014.

School: Boston College
Position: Defensive Backs Coach
Age: 44 years old

Another great DMV recruiter, Abdul-Rahim was at Friendship Collegiate from 2003-2013 before moving into the college game with Alabama in 2014-2015. After Alabama, he had stops at Maryland, UMass (as defensive coordinator), and now Boston College. He’s right up there with Brown for me.

School: Virginia Tech
Position: Cornerbacks Coach
Age: 30 years old

Smith served as a Penn State graduate assistant from 2015-2016, then moving onto Elon (2017-2018), James Madison (2019), and now Virginia Tech. He’s viewed as a rising star in the profession, so I would be quite surprised if Franklin doesn’t at least interview Smith.

School: Unemployed (Michigan from 2015-2020)
Position: Safeties
Age: 57 years old

If they bring in Zordich Sr., they better bring in Zordich Jr. so he can teach the youngsters how to be a savage.

School: Minnesota
Position: Cornerbacks Coach
Age: 51 years old

A longtime secondary coach, Haynes has coached defensive backs at Louisville (2002), Michigan State (2003-2004), Ohio State (2005-2011), Arkansas (2012), Michigan State again (2018-2019), and now Minnesota. He also served as co-DC at Ohio State (2011), defensive coordinator at Arkansas (2012), and head coach at Kent State (2012-2017), so a very experienced resume for Haynes.

School: West Virginia
Position: Safeties
Age: 36 years old

Put Wright in the Tripp Weaver category as guys I am intrigued by. Wright was the defensive coordinator at Moorhead State and Tennessee Tech before becoming Western Michigan’s safeties coach from 2018-2019. He spent this past season at West Virginia coaching the safeties.

School: Penn State
Position: Graduate Assistant (Secondary)
Age: 27 years old

I don’t expect Penn State to go internal, but if they do, Bentley makes the most sense. He was Banks’ understudy for the past two seasons.