News broke late in the day on Sunday that LSU wide receivers coach Adam Henry will be leaving the program to take a job with the San Francisco 49ers. The move isn't terribly surprising -- Henry has done a fantastic job here since 2012, so there was bound to be an opportunity for advancement eventually. He'd come to LSU after working as tight ends coach for the Oakland Raiders, so a move back to the NFL, and back to the Bay Area, makes a lot of sense. Henry had turned down opportunities with Florida and Texas A&M in recent weeks.
Look for Les Miles to move quickly on a replacement here. For one, spring practice starts in March, so having a receivers coach on hand will be imperative for practical reasons. And with hit being the very early stages of a recruiting cycle, coaches will be more available for quick movement. Later in the year they're more likely to be expected to maintain relationships and pass off recruits to new coaches in anticipation of a move.
Miles' receiving coach hires have tended to fit the profile of young up-and-comers, as the position is crucial for recruiting purposes. But teaching chops are important as well, especially with LSU's current corps of very young pass-catchers. Ties to the region will be important as well. Henry did a lot of work in Southwest Louisiana and East Texas, and while that specific area might not be targeted, the new coach will almost certainly have some ties to I-10 corridor. Or at least the Southeastern Conference.
Two names sure to come up: Jabbar Juluke and Tyke Tolbert. Not sure how realistic either option may be -- Juluke is the running backs coach at Louisiana Tech and had a defensive background prior to that. Yeah, he'd give LSU another strong presence in the New Orleans area and the southeast, but is he really qualified to teach a position that has a lot of technical nuances, especially in Cam Cameron's offense. Tolbert, an LSU alum and the current receivers coach with the Denver Broncos. He also just signed a contract extension when the team changed head coaches last month, so I'd have my doubts as to his availability as well.
Some other names to watch for:
- Josh Gattis -- receivers coach, Penn State. One of the key members of James Franklin's staff at both Vanderbilt and Penn State, Gattis has done some great work as a recruiter and as a coach, most famously with Jordan Matthews at Vandy.
- Ted Gilmore -- receivers coach, Wisconsin. Another former NFL guy, Gilmore worked with Ed Orgeron on USC's staff in 2011. Just made the move to Madison with Pau Chryst.
- Sean Beckton -- receivers coach, Central Florida. Done a fantastic job with the Golden Knights passing game in the last two years, and has some extensive ties in the state of Florida.
- Brennan Carroll -- receivers coach, Miami. Dan (Paul, whatever) brought his name up. Pete Carroll's son, who cut his teeth as a GA under his pops at USC and climbed the ladder to the Hurricanes staff two years ago.
- Steve Spurrier Jr. -- receivers coach, South Carolina. Hey, speaking of famous dads. The Gamecocks have had some solid receiving corps in recent seasons, and Junior may be looking to prove himself away from the OBC.
- Terry Robiskie -- former receivers coach, Atlanta Falcons. Another LSU alum and former player, Robiskie has worked in the NFL in multiple capacities, including two stints as interim head coaches with Washington and Cleveland.
- Brent Brennan -- receivers coach, Oregon State. Helped develop Brandin Cooks, Marcus Wheaton and James Rodgers in Corvallis. One does wonder if he's a West Coast lifer after staying through Mike Riley's departure.
- Derek Lewis -- tight ends coach, Florida. Another Louisiana native, Lewis' name has come up in connection with past LSU openings. He has a strong rep as a recruiter.
**UPDATE**: Couple other names floated to me -- Oregon receivers coach Matt Lubick, who worked with Orgeron and Frank Wilson at Ole Miss and has coached at a number of places; and former Notre Dame and LSU receivers coach Mike Haywood.
A couple names that will come up but I doubt are feasible are Billy Napier of Alabama and Zach Azzanni of Tennessee. With Napier, Alabama would likely do whatever it takes to keep him around -- there were rumors that he was prevented from interviewing for the same position with Florida. And Azzanni just signed an extension with Knoxville that included a raise. Tee Martin is another popular name that just signed an extension to stay at USC.
No doubt, there will be some unknowns involved in this search as well -- this is a job that should attract a lot of attention. We'll do our best to keep up with things as they break.