The news broke this afternoon via FootballScoop and the Advocate that LSU running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson has finally gotten a head coaching job, taking the gig at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Ed. Note: Official statement from Les Miles...
"It stands to reason that with the success that we have had here at LSU, our coaches are going to get these types of opportunities. Frank has been a big part of what we've accomplished at LSU both on and off the field. He's ready to be a head coach. He's worked long and hard for this opportunity and I couldn't be happier for Frank and his family. He's going to do a great job at Texas-San Antonio. We are going to miss him."
It's no huge surprise -- Wilson had looked at some head jobs last year, and UTSA is the only real college program in that part of the Lonestar State, so there's probably some potential there. Still, it leaves a pretty big hole in LSU's coaching staff.
Luckily, most of the hay is in the barn for LSU in this class, at least in terms of players Wilson was the primary recruiter on. Devin White and Michael Divinity are on campus and enrolled, and I don't believe Wilson was the primary on any of the remaining big names. But Wilson leaves pretty big shoes to fill, both as a recruiter and a coach. That last part especially -- nearly every running back he coached at LSU was drafted, and three of them started NFL playoff games last weekend.
And Tiger tailbacks didn't fumble a single time in 2015. Edit.: Nick Brossette did have that one fumble, which I believe was it.
Congratulations to Wilson, who has absolutely earned his shot at a head coaching job. Who knows, maybe this will start him on the path to return to LSU one day as the head man.
As for replacing him, most of the names hold up from this piece I wrote last year during the carousel cycle regarding a potential Wilson departure. Here are a few of the names:
Burton Burns -- Alabama's running backs coach/FORMER recruiting coordinator was kind of the original Frank Wilson. He jumped from the head job at New Orleans' St. Augustine High School to Tommy Bowden's staff at Tulane. From there, he followed Bowden to Clemson, and was one of Nick Saban's first hires when he took over at Alabama. Since then he's been the point man on just about every Louisiana recruit that Alabama's been after, and he'd be the first name that most people would call for.
I suspect Burns will be Miles' first call, and he may very well make Burns say no before moving down the list. On the one hand, Burns reportedly makes somewhere in the $300 grand range, which is less than half of what Wilson was making. So a big raise would be easy to pull off, and the thought of returning to Louisiana may have some appeal to Burns, who is near retirement.
Still, Alabama would certainly make it a tough pull.
David Johnson -- running backs coach, Tulane. If Burns was Frank Wilson before Frank Wilson was Wilson, Johnson is the newest version. He's another ex-St. Aug head coach who joined Curtis Johnson's Tulane staff two years ago. In his time in high school he coached former Tigers Tyrann Mathieu and Trai Turner and current players Jonah Austin and Leonard Fournette. At Tulane he, along with former NFL defensive back Lionel Washington, have done a fantastic job of combing the 504 and the surrounding parishes for a lot of second-tier recruits. The type of kids that used to end up at places like Southern Miss, TCU, Tulsa and even SEC schools like Ole Miss and Mississippi State. He'd be a natural follow-up to Wilson.
Leonard Fournette's original high school coach left Tulane for a job at Memphis last month. Would expect him to be very interested.
Jabbar Juluke -- running backs coach, Louisiana Tech. Juluke's name came up a lot in connection to LSU's special teams opening a year ago, but he doesn't really have much of a background there. Truthfully, he's mostly a defensive guy that only moved to offense when he arrived in Ruston after a very successful stint as the head coach at Edna Karr, where he coached the likes of Speedy Noil, Gerald Willis and LSU's Donnie Alexander. Like Wilson and Johnson, he's a New Orleans guy, but still well connected around the state, especially after spending the last two seasons in the I-20 corridor.
The recruiting message board set has been on Juluke for some time now, and I would expect him to have some interest should Miles call. He just took a similar position at Texas Tech, but I doubt he'd pass on an offer from LSU.
These three are the most likely names to be on the list or at least speculated. I'm told former Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson is taking some time away from the game, and I would imagine he winds up back in the NFL anyway after a pretty ugly ending in New Orleans. Other names to watch would include Tennessee's Robert Gillespie, Ole Miss's Derrick Nix and Florida State's Jay Graham.
We'll have more as we get it.